Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Nabil Yaghi and Justin Duhaime ©Brett Delmage, 2017
Guitarists Nabil Yaghi and Justin Duhaime play gypsy jazz together ©Brett Delmage, 2017

Saturday, July 21, 9 p.m.: The Justin Duhaime Quartet presents the music of Django Reinhardt at Irene's

Ever since its debut in the 1930s in France, the "hot jazz" of Sinto (gypsy) guitarist Django Reinhardt has won over audiences with its bright energy and appealing melodies. Ottawa jazz guitarist Justin Duhaime has been promoting this music for the past few years, bringing European and North American gypsy jazz musicians into town for concerts - as well as regularly playing it himself, in duos with guitarist Nabil Yaghi and in larger groups.

For this show, he's featuring well-regarded local jazz clarinetist David Renaud, and spotlighting Reinhardt's compositions featuring clarinet.

While Reinhardt's best-known collaborations were with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Grappelli left the group at the beginning of WWII, remaining in England when Reinhardt returned to France.  By 1940, Reinhardt had replaced him in the Quintette du Hot Club de France with clarinetist/saxophonist Hubert Rostaing. Rostaing was a regular member of the band for more than two years and played occasionally with Reinhardt until 1948. He performed on many of Reinhardt's recordings, and is is best-known for his clarinet work on "Nuages".

This tribute show will feature music written and recorded in Paris during the Nazi occupation and beyond. Duhaime promises "an eclectic mix of high energy danceable swing, Latin grooves, virtuosic fast tempo tunes, and luscious ballads."

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Peter Hum and Keith Hartshorn-Walton ©Brett Delmage, 2017
Peter Hum and Keith Hartshorn-Walton ©Brett Delmage, 2017

Friday, July 13, 8:30 p.m.: The Barrhaven Neighbourhood Jazz Series at Anabia Cupcakery Cafe

A search for vegan cupcakes has led to the launch of a new jazz series in Barrhaven that will feature accomplished professional jazz players – all who live in or near the ‘hood.

This Friday, suburban jazz fans can get their jazz fix in their own backyard, at the first show in The Barrhaven Neighbourhood Jazz Series at the Anabia Cupcakery Cafe. The series will begin with the trio of Keith Hartshorn-Walton (bass), Richard Page (saxophones) and Peter Hum (keyboard).

Expect to hear jazz standards and original compositions by Hum and Page, both “wonderful tunesmiths” according to Hartshorn-Walton. The music will be “fairly mainstream and a good introduction for people who aren’t familiar with jazz."

The series had two beginnings, the first a conversation at a show at GigSpace, where all three were playing. “We were were joking that there’s a bunch of jazz musicians who live in Barrhaven,” Hartshorn-Walton said. “We could get our own band together with just Barrhaven folk.”

The next came from Hartshorn-Walton's own search for baked goods. He and his wife are “always on the lookout for vegan options”. For cupcakes, they inevitably ended up having to bring their own – until they found a vegan version at Anabia. The owner was already sponsoring open mic nights and they realized a jazz series would be a good fit.

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Garrett Warner ©Brett Delmage, 2018
Garrett Warner at the 2018 Jazz Ramble ©Brett Delmage, 2018

Friday, July 6, 8 p.m.: The Garrett Warner Group at the Options Jazz Lounge, Brookstreet Hotel

Ottawa's jazz scene is frequently refreshed with new voices, as young musicians spread their wings. This Friday, you can hear two of Ottawa's most reliable players join up with two promising young musicians, in a quartet led by young guitarist Garrett Warner. Warner recently graduated from Carleton University, where he studied with Roddy Ellias, and has been starting his own series and playing with different musicians across the scene. He also played the 5 a.m. slot at the recent 24-hour Jazz Ramble.

For this show, he's teamed up with Keith Hartshorn-Walton on bass and Michel Delage on drums, who are well-known for playing in many innovative combos in the scene - plus young Ottawa trumpeter Evan Dalling. Dalling just finished playing in the Jazz Youth Summit at the 2018 Ottawa Jazz Festival, the only local jazz player in a cross-Canada all-star ensemble, where he received the "Take Five Plus Five" Harvey and Louise Glatt Scholarship.

Warner says they'll be playing jazz standards, but with the talent in this group, expect some interesting interpretations.

The Garrett Warner Group (Warner on guitar, Evan Dalling on trumpet, Keith Hartshorn-Walton on bass, and Michel Delage on drums) will perform in the Options Jazz Lounge in the Brookstreet Hotel on Friday, July 6, at 8 p.m. There is no cover charge.

The Brookstreet Hotel is located at 525 Legget Drive in Kanata North. The all-day OC Transpo Transitway route 63 stops near the hotel. Route 64 stops about 14 minutes walk away.

OttawaJazzScene.ca announces our pick of the week every Sunday, covering the following Monday to Sunday, in order to give listeners more notice of shows they might want to buy tickets for before they sell out.

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Scott Thomson ©Brett Delmage, 2011
Scott Thomson ©Brett Delmage, 2011

Wednesday, June 20, 8 p.m.: IMOO #180 - Monicker at General Assembly

One of the real pleasures of jazz is how it encourages collaborations from musicians with different backgrounds. The contrasting experiences and styles add energy and spark new ideas - as with Monicker, a trio which is touring across Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes this week, including a stop in Ottawa. Its members cross both geographic and generational boundaries.

Monicker consists of drummer Roger Turner, from London, England; guitarist Arthur Bull, from Digby Neck, Nova Scotia; and trombonist Scott Thomson, who divides his time between Toronto and Montreal. Turner has been on the improvised jazz scene since the 1970s, playing worldwide (from Sydney to the Arctic, Tokyo to Belfast, New York to Beirut) with renowned jazz  musicians including Cecil Taylor, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Phil Minton, Marilyn Crispell, and Annette Peacock. Bull has also been active since the 70s, playing with Canadian innovators Paul Dutton, Michael Snow, John Oswald, and John Heward (all members of Toronto's CCMC), as well as with Derek Bailey and Roscoe Mitchell.

Turner and Bull first played together in 2002 in a workshop at the Guelph Jazz Festival, a frequent hatchery for new partnerships, and got on so well they've performed as a duo periodically ever since. In 2017, a residency in Halifax inspired them to expand to a trio by inviting Thomson, from a much younger generation of Canadian creative musicians (he was only born in 1975).

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Rémi Bolduc ©Brett Delmage, 2012
Rémi Bolduc ©Brett Delmage, 2012
Jim Vivian ©Brett Delmage, 2012
Jim Vivian ©Brett Delmage, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 8 p.m.: The Jon Ballantyne Quartet at the Almonte Old Town Hall

This Saturday, you can hear a jazz show with star power easily equaling the jazz festival. There's only one catch: it's out in the Valley, in Almonte, a 40-minute drive from Ottawa..

This show is the finale of the 2017-18 JazzN series, and, unlike the other shows in the series, it's a full-scale show at the Almonte Old Town Hall (known for its good acoustics), rather than a house concert.

Sakatchewan-born, long-time New-York-based jazz pianist and composer Jon Ballantyne has brought together a quartet of Canadian jazz musicians with their own strong jazz roots. Montrealer Rémi Bolduc is a leading alto saxophonist, known for both his own compositions and his fine reeinterpretations of the music of Dave Brubeck, Charlie Parker, and Oscar Peterson.

Torontonian Jim Vivian is arguably the finest jazz bassist in Canada, playing with the best in Canada and with international stars including Dave Liebman and Kenny Wheeler. This spring Vivian released a rare CD, Sometime Ago, featuring the late John Abercrombie.

Drummer and composer Alan Jones lives in Portland, Oregon, but is a dual US-Canadian citizen. In 2013, he brought an all-star, all-Canadian sextet - which included Ballantyne - to the Ottawa Jazz Festival for a memorable show. He and Ballantyne go way back, to studying at the Banff Centre, which inspired a sextet which also included Vivian.

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

The Hoffman-Lemish Quartet ©Brett Delmage, 2016
At their first appearance in Ottawa two years ago, the Hoffman-Lemish Quartet packed Black Squirrel Books, with large numbers of standees and people sitting on the floor, and earned an immediate standing ovation at the end of their show. ©Brett Delmage, 2016

Sunday, June 10, 9 p.m.: The Hoffman-Lemish Quartet at Black Squirrel Books

The Hoffman-Lemish Quartet is a boundary-spanning group in several senses. Guitarist and oud player Amos Hoffman is from Israel but is now based in the U.S. Pianist Noam Lemish is an Israeli-American jazz pianist and composer currently based out of Toronto. Their rhythm section, brothers Justin Gray (bass) and Derek Gray (drums) are also from Toronto.

The quartet also crosses genre boundaries. At their last show here in 2016, they combined classic mid-60s jazz a la Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, with Middle Eastern motifs, and with an adaptation of the theme from Bach's Orchestral Suite in B Minor.

This week, they're on a short CD release tour of New York State, Ontario, and Quebec for their first CD as a quartet, Pardes. Ottawa is the last stop on the tour. The new CD blends jazz, North African and Latin rhythms, as well as melodies that come from various Jewish communities across the Middle-East and Eastern Europe. Hoffman and Lemish have been collecting Jewish melodies from different parts of the world for years, including Kurdish, Yemenite, Moroccan, Russian, Central Asian, and Israeli songs.

Hoffman is known as a "pioneer in fusing the rhythms and melodic themes of the Middle East with modern jazz", and has released five solo albums, as well as playing on albums by Avishai Cohen, Kiko Berenguer (Spain), and Jan Mlynarski (Poland). In 2013 he was awarded the Landau Prize for Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in the field of Jazz. Lemish has several recordings to his credit, including The Turning (2016), Nightfall (2013), and Yes And (2008).

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

CYJO ©Brett Delmage, 2017
It's going to be a crowded stage when the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra teams up with Ed Lister's Prime Rib Big Band and the Ottawa Junior Jazz Band on Sunday, for CYJO's third concert of this season ©Brett Delmage, 2017

Sunday, June 3, 7 p.m.: The Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra with the Prime Rib Big Band and the Ottawa Junior Jazz Band at Carleton University

This weekend's Jazz Ramble was given a rousing finale by a quartet of talented young jazz musicians, whose upbeat versions of jazz standards put a smile on everyone's faces. We recognized them because they all play in local youth big bands - and if you missed them at the Ramble, you can hear three of the four of them (saxophonist Melissa Brown, pianist Anthony Kubelka, and drummer Jennie Seaborn) next Sunday, in the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO).

This concert was originally scheduled for April but CYJO moved the date because of the extended strike at Carleton University. In fact, it's now a bigger show than ever, because the Ottawa Junior Jazz Band (OJJB) is joining CYJO and the Prime Rib Big Band. There will be three generations of musicians in the show: the OJJB consists of Grade 7, 8, 9 and 10 students; CYJO's members are primarily at university with a few talented senior high school students; and the Prime Rib band's members are some of the best professional jazz musicians in town.

CYJO presents three of its own feature concerts a year, performing a wide range of modern and classic big band charts by Canadian and international composers. Their spring concert frequently includes guests, but adding two more big bands is a first. CYJO director Nick Dyson (who also plays trumpet in the Prime Rib Big Band) says that he's hoping for an epic finale with all 3 bands!

The 16-member CYJO began in 2009. It has consistently pushed the envelope in big band jazz, with past concerts dedicated to the music of Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. They've also featured music by local composers such as Rob Frayne and Mark Ferguson, performed Latin big music, and combined jazz fusion with big band charts.

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Wednesday, May 23, 8 p.m.: Toshimaru Nakamura and Martin Taxt + Sound of the Mountain at General Assembly
Sunday, May 27, 7 p.m.: IMOO #178: Tatsuya Nakatani and Mark Molnar at General Assembly

This week, avant-garde jazz fans have the chance to hear two accomplished, but very different, Japanese improvising musicians.

On Wednesday, improvising artist Toshimaru Nakamura,. whose instrument is the Japanese no-input mixing board, will team up with Norwegian avant jazz tuba player Martin Taxt. They've recently released their second record as a duo, Listening to the Footsteps of Living Ones Who Are Still on the Ground, in which Nakamura processes Taxt's deep tuba tones. Taxt describes the result: "We ended up with me connecting the tuba to Toshi’s mixing board, so actually it became a «tuba input mixing board» The metallic sounds you hear is my tuba going through Toshi’s mixer."

One review of the album concludes that: "this album thoroughly subverted all of my expectations in a way which I find to be both interesting and a joyous pleasure to listen to, and that's exactly what I want from this kind of album: it's one thing to give the listener something that they want, but it's another thing to give them something that they didn't know they wanted."

Since the mid-1990s, Nakamura has used a standard mixing board as an electronic instrument. "The use of the mixing board in this manner is not only innovative in the sounds it can create but, more importantly, in the approach this method of working with the mixer demands.The unpredictability of the instrument requires an attitude of obedience and resignation to the system and the sounds it produces, bringing a high level of indeterminacy and surprise to the music."

Every Sunday OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from the dozens of live jazz events in our comprehensive Live Jazz Guide we send to donors. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Sunday, May 20, 2018, 7:30 p.m.: Bytowne Big Band: Best of Buddy Rich at Fatboy's Southern Smokehouse

The Bytowne Big Band ©Brett Delmage, 2018
The Bytowne Big Band at its debut show earlier this year. This time they're paying tribute to drummer Buddy Rich, ©Brett Delmage, 2018

Jazz drummer Buddy Rich (1917–1987) was renowned for his virtuoso technique and precision, and the intensity and speed of his drumming. Self-taught as a musician, he began as a child star in vaudeville and was known as "Baby Traps, the Drum Wonder." By his early 20s, he had transitioned to big bands, playing with Artie Shaw and then Tommy Dorsey. By 1954, he was earning $1,500 per week with the Harry James Orchestra, making him the highest-paid sideman in the world. From 1966 to 1974, he led his own successful big band, and continued to reunite that band for occasional tours until his death. He also performed with many jazz stars including Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Art Tatum, Lionel Hampton, and with Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk (on the 1950 album Bird and Diz).

One of his best-known pieces was a big-band arrangement of a medley of songs from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, first released on the 1966 album Swingin' New Big Band. It contains difficult sections which feature 4/4 and 6/8 time signatures. Rich performed this piece frequently, at different lengths. He was known for his extended solos, in which he used contrasting techniques and dynamics to keep the audience's interest. In Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Drummers of All Time, Rich is #15, and the magazine notes how he influenced on British rock drummers like John Bonham of Led Zeppelin "to blast past a simple backbeat toward hard-hitting improvisational patterns, encouraging Phil Collins to abandon a two-bass-drum set-up and focus on his hi-hat work, and just plain flooring Roger Taylor. 'I would say of just sheer technique he's the best I've ever seen,' recalled the Queen drummer."

Rich's music will be the focus of The Bytowne Big Band's second show. The 20-piece big band primarily consists of talented university students and recent graduates, with a couple of Ottawa jazz scene veterans mixed in. Almost all the band members – and particularly leaders Andrew Knox and William O'Neill – have had considerable experience in local student big bands such as the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra. And holding down the drum chair is powerful young drummer Matt Welsh, a recent Carleton graduate.