©Brett Delmage, 2018
Satoko Fujii's This Is It! at IMOO Fest 2018 ©Brett Delmage, 2018

Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii looked slightly bemused as she addressed the near-capacity audience at IMOO Fest 2018 in GigSpace Saturday evening.

"We've had such a special week", she said, with a tornado and a power outage. But this "special treatment" hasn't been too bad so far, she assured the crowd.

IMOO Fest 2018, which Fujii and her trio were headlining, had showed considerable resilience this weekend. The music never stopped, even when the power did for most of Ottawa due to the damage caused by two tornados (EF/3 and EF/2) late Friday afternoon.

The festival concludes this evening (Sunday) with four hour-long shows at GigSpace starting at 6 p.m., including a solo piano set by Fujii and her conducting the IMOO Orchestra in one of her large-scale compositions.

General Assembly, where the Friday concerts were scheduled, lost its power Friday at 6 p.m. and was only able to light the hall with a large fluorescent fixture powered by a car battery. But Fujii's partner. trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, declared he was happy to perform in the dark, to save battery power. He played an extraordinary set of solo explorations, taking the trumpet to many unusual places. He was followed by Montreal musicians Adam Saikaley and Elizabeth Millar, who had planned to play an electro-acoustic set, but, with the power out, their microphones and laptops wouldn't work. Instead, Millar rewired her equipment and they played an acousto-electric set of widely varied sounds created by the musical and non-musical equipment in front of them. The evening ended with the Craig Pedersen Quartet, whose trumpet-sax-double bass-drums line-up could go acoustic, and who played all-new pieces Pedersen had recently written in Tokyo.

©Brett Delmage, 2018
Craig Pedersen Quartet in the unpowered General Assembly space at IMOO Fest 2018 ©Brett Delmage, 2018

On Saturday, Jesse Stewart was able to present his afternoon trio show with Fujii and Tamura because that church in the Glebe did have power. Power returned to GigSpace around 5 p.m., only shortly before the musicians were due to load in, although they had decided to run the shows there regardless. All four scheduled concerts were presented to an attentive and appreciative audience, culminating in an virtuosic set by Satoko's trio, This Is It!, whose music ranged from tiny hisses to full-out attacks, and whose occasional violent energy mirrored the storm which had hit Ottawa.

On Sunday. the Record Centre in Hintonburg opened without power. With a battery-powered guitar amp, lots of sunlight through the windows, and few battery-powered lights in the corners, IMOO Fest presented Nomad from Montreal in the store. The quintet performed a beautiful hour-long set of nuanced acoustic music, intertwining trumpet, piano, clarinet, tenor sax, guitar, and double bass in original pieces written by members of the group.

IMOOfest 2018 returns again this evening at GigSpace, starting at 6 p.m.

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