UPDATED June 23: the Festival has just announced that the Max Weinberg concert has been cancelled due to bad weather in Chicago.
UPDATED June 16: jazz poet, singer, and author Gil Scott-Heron has been added to the evening, and we have more information on the artists.
The Ottawa Jazz Festival has announced the lineup of its free advance concert on June 23:
- 6 p.m.: Street Drum Corps (www.streetdrumcorps.com/)
- 7:30 p.m.: Gil Scott-Heron (gilscottheron.net/)
- 9 p.m.:The Max Weinberg Big Band (maxweinberg.com/)
Scott-Heron's first album, in 1970, contained the powerful song/beat poetry piece The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, an attack on the media and the treatment of American blacks. It was followed by a series of albums in the 1970s and 1980s, many with soul and jazz influences, and containing political and cultural commentary. His vocal delivery and style has been considered an important formative influence on hip-hop.
He released very few albums from the mid-1980s onwards, and his life was blighted by a prison sentence for a drug conviction. This spring, however, I’m New Here, his first new album in 15 years, appeared to critical acclaim. A review in the UK Guardian described it as "fiercely alive", and said it showed "a man embracing the music he helped create [hip-hop], and taking it to new places."
Weinberg has been the drummer in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band for 36 years, as well as the band leader for Conan O'Brien on O'Brien's former TV talk shows. His Big Band debuted in December, 2009. Its 15 members continue "the traditions established by Max’s musical heroes - among whom, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Doc Severinsen, and Maynard Ferguson lead the pack."
Weinberg said, “I think playing with Tony Bennett opened my eyes to what I might actually be able to do if I worked hard at my music to eventually step away from the rock genre. Tony was swingin’ and he told me and my band that we swung him. That was huge for me and I can directly link that first performance in 1997 with sparking my interest in creating my own Big Band.”
You could consider the free concert a bargain: for one concert by Weinberg's Big Band June 11 in New Jersey, some of the VIP tickets were $500 and up!