Each week, OttawaJazzScene.ca recommends a live jazz or improvised music performance in Ottawa-Gatineau from our comprehensive Jazz Bulletins. There's a lot of wonderful jazz being presented, so it's often a difficult choice.

Holly Cole ©Brett Delmage, 2012
Holly Cole with her long-time pianist Aaron Davis in her previous NAC show ©Brett Delmage, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2018: Holly Cole at the National Arts Centre Theatre

UPDATE: Read OttawaJazzScene.ca's review and photos of this concert

It's amazing how many songs Holly Cole has made her own. "Girl Talk". "Santa Baby". "Blame It on My Youth". "I Can See Clearly Now". "My Foolish Heart".  "Don't Smoke in Bed". While still remaining true to a song and not adding extraneous musical gestures, Cole inhabits a song, creating a definitive version.

The Canadian jazz vocalist has always combined standards from the Great American Songbook with her own jazz interpretations of more modern songs, by musicians including Tom Waits, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, and Lyle Lovett. She keeps to classic jazz arrangements (piano, horns, bass, drums), and a minimalist style that allows her expressive voice and the lyrics to shine through.

It's been almost three decades since the Holly Cole Trio made its debut, and in that time, Cole has developed a huge following of jazz and pop listeners in Canada and abroad. At her sold-out Christmas show at the NAC in 2012, you could hear the enthusiasm in the audience even before the music started. She has also inspired a generation of jazz singers who came after her, including Emilie-Claire Barlow and Amy Cervini.

At her NAC show on Friday, Cole will perform with pianist Aaron Davis, who was on her very first album, and three other long-time musical associates: John Johnson on horns and woodwinds, Davide DiRenzo on drums, and George Koller on bass. They'll play songs from across her career, and in particular from her new album Holly, released in February. It's her first studio album in five years, and features classic jazz standards by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Sammy Cahn, and Rodgers and Hart. It also includes "Your Mind is on Vacation" by modern blues/jazz pianist Mose Allison - taking a song about a swaggering man that was originally designed to be sung by a man, and giving it the extra edge of being sung by a woman.

Read the OttawaJazzScene.ca review of Holly Cole's previous NAC show: Holly Cole Christmas at the NAC (review)

Holly Cole will perform on Friday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the National Arts Centre Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40.75, $59.75, and $69.75, available from the NAC Box Office free of service charge, and via Ticketmaster with fees on the NAC website.

Get there! The National Arts Centre is located at 1 Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa; all downtown-bound OC Transpo routes, including those on the Transitway, stop within two blocks of the NAC. Try the OC Transpo Trip Planner to find your trip to the show!