You know how Cole Porter wrote “I Get a Kick Out of You?” Well, what I remember best about the last ten years writing and editing for OttawaJazzScene.ca is the kick I've got from talking to people about jazz.
After almost every interview I've had with musicians about their latest projects, I feel elated and energized, fascinated by the music they're producing and the stories behind it. It's energy that carries me through the hard work of writing and editing the story out of that interview..
In the last decade, I've talked to musicians all over the world – from Japan and Korea, to South America, to all over Europe and the United States – and learned that music does provide a universal bridge. And even more importantly, Brett and I have done our best to cover the Canadian and Ottawa-Gatineau jazz scenes, making sure that the talent and innovation that our own musicians display is properly chronicled. Canadians make great music, and we don't want it overlooked!
One of the odd aspects of creating a Live Jazz Guide every week is that I often know how to spell a musician's name before I remember their face. “Oh, YOU'RE Szymon!” I exclaimed this weekend when I met one of the musicians whose events we tell you about in the Live Jazz Guide.
OttawaJazzScene.ca turned 10 on July 3. Time flies when you’re busy reporting about even a fraction of the 20,000 live jazz events that have been detailed in our live jazz guides since we started in 2009.
After 10 years, I wanted to share how we've made this journey - from our perspective.
I launched OttawaJazzScene.ca during the 2009 Ottawa Jazz Festival to inform jazz listeners about all the jazz beyond the festival, so that they might join me on the other 355 days a year. Back then, there were performances throughout the year where I was the only listener at what I thought was an excellent performance. I realized that wasn’t going to continue. Now there’s a wealth of live jazz performances every week, frequently to sold-out audiences, and I stand while I listen and work. We recently detailed 88 jazz events in our weekly Live Jazz Guide!
Looking back to our first details of jazz events 10 years ago, I can see that today’s all-year local jazz scene is busier, more diverse, and more exciting than ever. I believe that OttawaJazzScene.ca’s visible, inclusive, consistent, enthusiastic and publicly accessible reporting has helped contribute to growing the jazz scene, to the benefit of all those who love to perform and listen to live jazz.
During OttawaJazzScene.ca’s first 10 years we openly published for everyone to enjoy and learn from:
OttawaJazzScene.ca looked everywhere and reported inclusively about
We're the leading on-line publication dedicated to live jazz and creative, improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau and the National Capital Region. We've been publishing event listings, news and reviews, photos, podcasts, and videos on our website and in our weekly email newsletter since 2009. Thanks for checking us out.
Keep up-to-date with the latest news and performances. Sign up for our weekly Jazz Bulletin to get started.
You can help support all of this through a donation, right here on the website in only two minutes. Unlike many websites, OttawaJazzScene.ca is Community funded, by our readers. Donations of any amount are welcomed. Find out more about the benefits of donating
Thanks for taking time to visit OttawaJazzScene.ca. We hope to see you at a live music event somewhere, soon. If you see us, please come up and say hello. It's always a pleasure to meet our readers and other live music fans.
I've been a journalist ever since university, on many different topics, and am a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists. I started writing about jazz in 2008.
I discovered jazz in the 1980s, in search for music that was both more complex and more fun than what I'd been listening before.
Publisher, photojournalist, writer, video journalist, dishwasher
I have been writing about things that matter, and issues I am passionate about since I was in university. In the 1980s I wrote the first national magazine column about the wireless digital computer communications systems that Canadian radio amateurs (“hams”) were pioneering - decades before smartphones existed. In the 1990s I moved to writing articles for, and editing, newsletters about improving cycling in Ottawa. In 1997, I published my first website. I was writing reports and recommendations for a citizen's advisory committee of Ottawa City Council in 2001. (A city councillor once complained that my report to City Council was “too professional.” What could I have done? Write less clearly?)
Have you seen the front page of the OttawaJazzScene.ca website this past week? Our original photography continues to be an essential part of our vivid and insightful reporting about the scene – as it has been since we started in 2009.
As I look at the front page of OttawaJazzScene.ca now, I smile, remembering the performances that we recently reported about in both words and pictures: freshly interpreted standards sung by a Juno winner on a prominent NAC stage; improvised music made in a nuclear war bunker; a student's final performance recital responded to with a standing ovation; and a deconstructed accordion, reassembled then played in a bookstore – to mention only a few. Scroll down and see them all for yourself.
Imagine a business that made more than 12 billion dollars (that's US $12,470,000,000), including almost 3 billion dollars profit in 2014. That's double their profits in 2013 which are the amount it cost to operate the whole City of Ottawa (arts funding, OC Transpo, garbage collection, water, libraries, etc.) in 2013. Those windfall profits were made without creating original, published work of its own – except for updated legal terms that grab as many rights as possible to artists' original works, without paying them one cent.
Is this an exploitative record company returning from decades past? Or a mega-conglomerate of charities and small venues who want musicians to play for free? No. It's Facebook, where you can be both their free content provider, and their product: what they sell is your personal information.
An update from OttawaJazzScene.ca
On July 3, 2014, OttawaJazzScene.ca reached our 5th Anniversary! I founded the publication five years ago to celebrate and give greater public exposure to the vibrant 365-days-a-year jazz and improvised music scene in Ottawa-Gatineau and across Canada. Now, more than 10,000 articles and event listings later (a milestone which we reached in June, just before our anniversary) I feel we have made good progress towards accomplishing our initial objectives. There is strong interest in live local jazz performance, and other media have followed our lead in covering it.
OttawaJazzScene.ca will not be reporting from the 2016 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.
For the sixth consecutive year, OttawaJazzScene.ca's team was rejected by the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival when we applied for accreditation to cover the summer 2016 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.
The Ottawa Jazz Festival has denied media accreditation (access to their festival) for the fifth consecutive year to OttawaJazzScene.ca's publisher and journalist/photojournalist Brett Delmage. No reason was received in response to our inquiry.
The festival's denial is in stark contrast to other festivals (Ottawa Chamberfest, Montreal Jazz Festival, Guelph Jazz Festival, Merrickville's Jazzfest, and major institutions including the National Arts Centre), who have given OttawaJazzScene.ca us the full access required to do our work and provide full reporting, including photography. This has resulted in the loss of one-half of our resources to report about the festival and the artists performing in it.
We strongly disagree with this action. The Ottawa Jazz Festival has received significant funding from Federal, Ontario, and City of Ottawa taxpayers. It should be fully open to reporting by bona-fide journalists.