There are some acts coming to the 2010 Ottawa Jazz Festival that just aren't jazz.
Not crossovers, not hyphen-jazz, not on the bleeding edge. Simply fine artists who play music other than jazz.
Ottawa's not the only festival which does this. On CBC Radio this week, "Q" host Jian Gomeshi took Montreal JazzFest's co-founder Andre Menard to task for the many "decidedly non-jazz artists" at that festival.
In reply, Menard argued that "just the pure jazz content" in the Montreal festival "accounts for a huge festival in itself. Then the rest [the jazz purists] can consider it decoration or distraction if they want." You can hear their debate at podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/qpodcast_20100608_33580.mp3 .
Compared to the Montreal JazzFest (or the number of non-blues acts at the Ottawa Bluesfest), the Ottawa Jazz Festival has fewer "decorative" artists. However, Ottawa Jazz Scene still counted 12 non-jazz acts, spread throughout the 2010 festival program:
- Smokey Robinson (opening night headliner, June 24): soul and R&B
- Omar Souleyman (OLG late-night stage, June 25): Syrian folk-pop
- Bettye LaVette (Saturday night headliner, June 26): soul
- Katzenjammer (NAC Fourth Stage, June 28): Norwegian folk, pop
- Papagroove (Main Stage opening act, June 28): funk, Afro-beat
- Jill Zmud (Canada Day): folk, roots music, pop
- Shad (Canada Day): hip-hop, rap, indie
- Elliott Brood (Canada Day): folk rock, acoustic, soul
- Owen Pallett (Canada Day): indie, alternative, pop
- Bonobo (OLG late-night stage, July 2): DJ, electronica
- NEeMA (NAC Fourth Stage, July 3): folk, pop, dub
- Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (closing night headliner, July 4): gospel, soul and funk
On the other hand, perhaps non-jazz fans will come to hear some of these artists – and be won over by the jazz artists playing that same night?