Vocalist Renée Yoxon and saxman/clarinetist Richard Page share the Cafe Nostalgica stage, which is running jazz every Wednesday night for most of this summer. They each host a regular weekly gig at another club. photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Vocalist Renée Yoxon and saxman/clarinetist Richard Page share the Cafe Nostalgica stage, which is running jazz every Wednesday night for most of this summer. They each host a regular weekly gig at another club. photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010

Sometimes – heresies of heresies! – you might actually want to go somewhere else during the Ottawa Jazz Festival.

The ground might be totally waterlogged from two thunderstorms in one day.  Or it might be 35C with a humidex of 40C and you're about to get heatstroke. Or the bands that night aren't your style. Or you just want to sit in a real chair and eat from real china plates or drink a different beer.

There are alternatives.

Most local jazz venues will be open and running jazz on their regular nights  during the festival.

  • On Mondays, you can hear Crimson and Blues with Renée Yoxon at Bar 56 (hear her interview, see photos)
    and Search Engine at Le Petit Chicago
  • the Avant-Garde Bar will host the Richard Page Trio on Tuesdays (hear interview, see photos, more photos), as well as Django Libre on July 2.
  • Café Nostalgica will continue its regular Wednesday jazz nights this summer (with Nick Maclean in June)
  • Tim Bedner can be heard  most Thursday nights at Café Paradiso with Elise Letourneau and other  guests.  photo ©Brett Delmage, 2009
    Tim Bedner can be heard most Thursday nights at Café Paradiso with Elise Letourneau and other guests. photo ©Brett Delmage, 2009
    Café Paradiso will feature jazz Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • Vineyards Wine Bar will have its usual Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday jazz nights
  • Glebop will play at the Arrow and Loon on June 27, and other Sunday jazz shows continue.
  • Bacci Bistro and Molto Kitchen in Gatineau will have their regular jazz evenings (Bacci on Fridays, Molto on Thursdays and Saturdays)

Of course, you can enjoy also these Ottawa-Gatineau jazz musicians throughout the year if you can't drag yourself away from the festival. Check our upcoming shows listings and/or subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter, Jazz Scene.

New: Chelsea Jazz Festival

If you'd like to stay out of downtown Ottawa, the Chelsea Pub in Quebec will be running its own intimate jazz festival on June 25, 26 and 27. It starts with Nicole Ratté's Quintet (with a different mix of musicians and a more French-influenced repertoire than at the Ottawa festival), then Groovus Maximus (Latin jazz-funk with Mark Ferguson and some of the members of Los Gringos), and ending with Patrice Servant and his group (Servantes) playing everything from Latin to bluegrass to flamenco to classical, with a jazz tinge.

Ratté, who programs the music at the Pub, said that the Pub had considered starting this festival last year, but hadn't had time to organize it then. If it's successful, she said they would like to make it an annual event.

She emphasized it was not competition for the Ottawa Jazz Festival; she herself would be downtown for that festival almost all nights. Instead, its goal was to bring in people from the Chelsea area who wouldn't necessarily go to Confederation Park, and to produce shows that would attract people who aren't regular jazz listeners.

She said she wanted to get a lively, accessible mix of different styles of jazz in the three shows, and that the Pub owners had specifically asked her to be the vocalist. Nicole recently released her first CD.

Special club shows

Café Paradiso is bringing in two outside bands who both received enthusiastic receptions at their previous Paradiso gigs: Parc-X from Montreal on June 25, and the Jake Langley Trio on June 30.

The Avant-Garde Club is featuring the Latin jazz band Flow on June 30.

Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers will be the opening act for Ukrainia at the Babylon Nightclub on June 25.

Le Petit Chicago will have two Latin/Brazilian jazz nights: La Roda da Samba on June 26, and Salsa Meets Jazz on July 2.

Or, if you've been sitting in your chair at the Festival for far too many hours and want to get up and dance, the Ottawa Swing Dancers have added an extra Swing night at Le Petit Chicago on Tuesday, June 29.

   – Alayne McGregor