©Brett Delmage, 2018
Even the large stage at Kailash Mital Theatre started to look crowded when musicians from three big bands temporarily merged Sunday to play two Duke Ellington compositions. ©Brett Delmage, 2018

The Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO) put the “big” into big band Sunday, with three generations of jazz musicians performing 20 numbers in the final concert of its 9th season.

The Ottawa Junior Jazz Band (Grade 9 and 10 students) opened the show with a highly polished presentation, followed by CYJO (university and high school students) celebrating Duke Ellington, and the Prime Rib Big Band (professional musicians) playing engaging originals written in the big band tradition by leader Ed Lister. Individually and collectively, they performed a mixture of classic and modern big band tunes, with many pieces by local composers.

At the climax of the three-hour series of concerts, about 40 musicians from all three bands crowded on the stage at the Kailash Mital Theatre at Carleton University, double and triple-filling the stage risers.

They gave full measure to two iconic Duke Ellington numbers – “Black and Tan Fantasy” and “Take the 'A' Train” – with rousing solos and full-bore ensemble sections filling the theatre with quite possibly the loudest and most precisely articulated music that its audiences have heard in a long time.

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