May 25, 5 p.m. (Updated June 1 to include podcast interviews with Mark Ferguson and with Raphael Weinroth-Browne)
Like a well-stocked buffet, the first seven hours of the 2018 Jazz Ramble offered a wide and interesting range of music.
The Ramble is running for 24 hours, from 10 a.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday, at the Record Centre, 1099 Wellington Street West in Hintonburg. It has been organized by the Ottawa Jazz Festival together with the record store in order to promote the local jazz scene and this year's festival. There is no admission charge, but donations into the hat are encouraged.
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This morning opened with an appealing set of jazz/pop originals and standards by pianist Cynthia Tauro and her trio with Stephen Adubofuor on drums and Caylan Penny on bass, and in particular, a sultry version of George Gershwin's "Summertime" that matched the humid weather.
They were followed by the sweet and funky sounds of Marc Decho's Nu-Trio with Clayton Connell and Adubofuor, playing a well-mixed group of jazz and blues standards, including a fresh and strongly accented "Monk's Dream", whose dancing rhythms evoked strong cheers and clapping at the end.
The noon show was a particular highlight, as pianists Mark Ferguson and Steve Boudreau played a four-handed tribute to jazz master Bill Evans, on Fender Rhodes and on the store's upright piano, the two instruments' different voices adding extra interest to the music. The two showed a delightful empathy and mutual understanding, playing in unison and trading lines (and instruments several times) to create an assured and sympathetic reading of songs written by and associated with Evans. I particularly enjoyed the evocative and shimmering "Time Remembered".
Listen to Mark Ferguson explain how he and Steve Boudreau put together their Two Pianos, Four Hands show
At 1 p.m., Keith Hartshorn-Walton proved again that the tuba can be as much a melodic lead instrument as a rhythmic bass in his show with pianist Peter Hum, as the two repeatedly shared the lead and created a thoroughly enjoyable menu of bebop tunes made famous by Charlie Parker, Dizzy GIllespie. Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk - including their more angular version of "Monk's Dream".
Raphael Weinroth-Browne amazed the mid-afternoon listeners with the drama and volume he produced in his solo cello show. He played four of his own compositions, through-composed but with improvised passages, whose waves of sound resonated through and filled the small store. In his final two pieces he used a range of effects, particularly looping and delay pedals, to effectively record and then play with his recorded self, in beautifully textured passages ranging from very quiet and percussive to full and intense. The audience reacted with strong applause and cheers.
Listen our interview with to Raphael Weinroth-Browne, in which he describe how he creates his solo cello music
Linsey Wellman's Wedding and Funeral Trio, with Hartshorn-Walton and drummer Mike Essoudry, played an in-your-face but well-received set of insistent and memorable originals, with a strong Balkan and blues flavour and a dancing beat, whose humorous and politically-minded titles definitely evoked the 98% of society rather than the plutocratic 2%.
Vocalist Gerri Trimble, playing with guitarist Garry Elliott and saxophonist Peter Woods, moved back into the jazz mainstream with a set of witty - lyrically and musically - jazz standards, ranging from ballads to bossas to bright and upbeat, all delivered with warmth and care and considerable smooth interaction within the trio.
Immediately after that show, percussionist Liz Hanson organized a group of women into a Brazilian drumming circle outside on the sidewalk for a short show between-sets. Despite the light rain, their energetic music attracted considerable interest from listeners.
So far, the turnout has ranged from about 15 to 35+ listeners, although the biggest crowds are expected this evening.
Read more stories about the 2018 and 2016 Jazz Rambles:
- 2018 Jazz Ramble: from the evening into the morning [5 p.m. on Friday, May 25 to 10 a.m. Saturday]
- "Some real high notes" at the second Jazz Ramble [overview]
- The Record Centre spins a 24-hour nonstop live 'Jazz Ramble' on Tuesday 
- Ottawa's jazz fans discover new groups and new sounds in the 24 hours of the Jazz Ramble