Vocalist Denielle Bassels and her quintet, with clarinetist/saxophonist Jacob Gorzhaltsan, played a high-energy and swinging show Saturday evening, bringing a ballroom full of listeners to their feet for a standing ovation. ©2014, Brett Delmage
Vocalist Denielle Bassels and her quintet, with clarinetist/saxophonist Jacob Gorzhaltsan, played a high-energy and swinging show Saturday evening, bringing a ballroom full of listeners to their feet for a standing ovation. ©2014, Brett Delmage
On Saturday evening, Toronto vocalist Denielle Bassels brought her infectious combination of swing, jazz, gypsy jazz, and a touch of funk to Merrickville's Jazz Fest. Playing to a packed ballroom, she and her quintet delivered a mixture of originals and unexpected jazz and jazzified tunes – which got the audience dancing and then on its feet for a standing ovation followed by an encore.

Near the end of Bassels' show, an announcement warned the Afro-Cuban fans in the audience that vocalist Caridad Cruz and pianist Miguel de Armas would shortly start their show in the pub downstairs. Those who came late to that show found it so overflowing with listeners they couldn't get in. “I'm the organizer and even I can't get in!” said festival co-founder Peggy Holloway, standing in the queue to get in, but glad to witness yet another packed concert.

Sunday's day of programming features the festival's first artist-in residence, the renowned pianist Brian Browne. He will give a masterclass at 10:30 a.m., play a duo with Peter Woods at 4 p.m., and appear in the closing highlight concert, A Tribute to Blossom Dearie. At 2 p.m. Norman Marshall Villeneuve brings his Message to Merrickville.

Miguel de Armas and Caridad Cruz filled Harry McLean's Pub with happy listeners. ©2014, Brett Delmage
Miguel de Armas and Caridad Cruz filled Harry McLean's Pub with happy listeners. ©2014, Brett Delmage
Watch OttawaJazzScene.ca for more photos and reports about Saturday and Sunday at Merrickville's Jazz Fest early this week.


    – Alayne McGregor

Read and watch OttawaJazzScene.ca's full coverage of the 2014 Merrickville's Jazz Fest

Adam Daudrich touched listeners with classic piano trio jazz: his own and others'. ©2014, Brett Delmage
Adam Daudrich touched listeners with classic piano trio jazz: his own and others'. ©2014, Brett Delmage

Full disclosure: Merrickville's Jazz Fest arranged a billet for Alayne McGregor and Brett Delmage to make it possible for us to report more from the festival during the festival.

The East Side Jazz Quartet premiered a new CD, with compositions by saxophonist Ralph Hopper. ©2014, Brett Delmage
The East Side Jazz Quartet premiered a new CD, with compositions by saxophonist Ralph Hopper. ©2014, Brett Delmage

    Bassist Neil Sealy entertained audiences at the Goose & Gridiron with his Quartet. ©2014, Brett Delmage
    Bassist Neil Sealy entertained audiences at the Goose & Gridiron with his Quartet. ©2014, Brett Delmage