The 2015 Ottawa Chamberfest, which runs from July 23 to August 6, will feature some of the best jazz musicians in Canada – plus a one-of-a-kind improvising cellist from Holland. The full line-up was announced this morning.
The Dutch cellist is Ernst Reijseger, who made a huge splash at last year's Guelph Jazz Festival for his adventurous style and technical mastery. The Canadians include David Braid, Dave Young, Michael Occhipinti, Drew Jurecka, Bob DeAngelis, Gene DiNovi, David Mott, Mark Kieswetter, the Montreal Guitar Trio – and Ottawan Jesse Stewart.
Their concerts will range in style from swing-era clarinet, to free improv, to a combination of string quartet and jazz piano, to guitar virtuosity, to jazz interpretations of Sicilian folksongs.
The festival's prime-time concerts will continue to focus on the classical, chamber, and early music which it is best known for (and this year in particular on Joseph Haydn). But late at night and during the day, Chamberfest will again offer a good selection of concerts of interest to fans of jazz and improvised music in its Chamberfringe series.
- July 24, noon: Ernst Reijseger and friends (with guests Roman Borys on cello and Jamie Parker on piano)
- July 24, 10 p.m.: Toronto jazz violinist, saxophonist, and vocalist Drew Jurecka performs in a trio with double bassist Dave Young and pianist Mark Kieswetter.
- July 25, 1 p.m.: a free outdoor concert by the Drew Jurecka Trio at the National Gallery of Canada amphitheater.
- July 25, 10 p.m.: Ernst Reijseger in a “late-night display of interpretive verve” with Toronto baritone saxophonist David Mott and Ottawa percussionist Jesse Stewart.
- July 26, 10 p.m.: Bernie Meets Artie: Clarinetists James Campbell and Bob DeAngelis team up with double bassist Dave Young and pianist Gene DiNovi to pay tribute to real-life rivals Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.
- July 27, 10 p.m.: Braid 'n' Strings. Toronto jazz pianist David Braid in concert with the Sinfonia UK Chamber Orchestra, the group with which he first started playing piano-strings compositions four years ago. They'll perform some of the same pieces Braid showcased at his NAC concert in March, including “Chauvet” and “Spirit Dance”, and some new pieces.
- July 30, 10 p.m.: Ljova and the Kontraband, a NYC group whose compositions fuse Eastern European and gypsy melodies, klezmer, Latin rhythms, jazz improv, and classical forms. They've collaborated with everyone from the Kronos Quartet to rapper Jay-Z. Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin's viola and fadolin are accompanied by accordion, bass, percussion, and vocals.
- August 1, 10 p.m.: Pilar and the Sicilian Jazz Project. Michael Occhipinti's fusing of jazz with his Sicilian musical heritage, along with Italian vocalist Pilar, was featured at last year's Chamberfest. This summer, the group is releasing a second CD, featuring the new material they've been performing with Pilar.
- August 3, 10 p.m.: The Brothers Creeggan. Two founding members of the Barenaked Ladies (Jim and Andy Creeggan) perform rock/jazz pieces and experimental compositions.
- August 6, 7 p.m.: The Montreal Guitar Trio (MG3), a big hit a few years ago at Chamberfest, team up with the California Guitar Trio for a concert combining progressive rock, world, jazz, and classical music.
Jazz fans might also be interested in several concerts in the New Music Now series (on August 3 and 4) which feature Montreal clarinetist Lori Freedman, and the improvising JACK string quartet. Freedman is a fearless jazz improviser: at the first IMOOfest in 2012, every eye was riveted on her solo performance.
– Alayne McGregor
See related stories:
- 2014 Chamberfest features clarinetist Don Byron in its genre-bending concerts
2013 Chamberfest builds on past jazz successes, adds Phil Dwyer & Don Thompson
- 2012 Chamberfest: "a real fascination with jazz"
- Chamber Elements: Many unique ways of listening to improvised music
- Chamberfest shows off links between classical and jazz music 
- Chamberfest: jazz for classical music fans