Updated December 21, 2018
You can choose jazz from big glitzy dances to small sit-down dinners, to close out 2018 and welcome in 2019 in Ottawa.
If you enjoy celebrating with up to 600 fellow big band enthusiasts, the National Arts Centre would be your destination. The NAC is again teaming up with Big Band Ottawa for a large-scale party in its lobby. The eight-piece group Tuxedo Junction will play during dinner, and then the 18-member Big Band Ottawa will take over for dancing past midnight. After the champagne toast for the new year, they're planning for the longest conga line in Ottawa.
Vocalists Doreen Smith and Robert Vogelsang will perform with both bands. They promise many new charts for this year's show, for an evening of classic big band jazz spiced with Latin and rock and blues, and featuring popular hits starting at the 1930s right through to modern arrangements. This year's NAC event also offers an 1980s music party upstairs: be sure to specify that you want the Big Band party when you register.
At the Ottawa Conference Centre on Coventry Road in Ottawa's east end, the Steve Berndt Quartet will perform for dinner at the Ottawa Charity Ball. Dancing to a DJ and a live auction will follow. The ball will raise funds for two local charities which help children with developmental difficulties and their families.
Berndt's quartet will have just finished recording his upcoming solo jazz album that week. They will perform his original songs from the album plus jazz standards. At the request of the organizers, they'll also include a few of Michael Bublé's hits. Berndt previously recorded two well-received duo albums with the late jazz master pianist Brian Browne, plus many albums with his jump-swing band The Jivewires.
The Lord Elgin downtown is offering dinner followed by music, for an intimate and quiet introduction to the next year. JUNO-winning jazz guitarist Mike Rud from Montreal and vocalist Christine Fagan from Ottawa will present the jazz standards they know so well and love, plus the occasional pop tune.
At Zolas Restaurant in Bells Corners in Ottawa's west end, well-known jazz vocalist Betty Ann Bryanton and pianist Doug Slone are promising some fun tunes to bring in the new year, plus several New Year's Eve-specific songs. They'll spice up the evening with accordion and ukulele as well as several keyboards: “we'll be like a big 2-person band,” Betty Ann promises.
At Big Daddy's Bourbon Street Bistro downtown, vocalist Caroline Cook and pianist David Miller will offer a diverse selection of jazz-oriented fare: jazz standards, Latin groove, blues, and pop. They'll start at 9:30 p.m. and go until after midnight.
The downtown restaurant Festival Japan is again offering a New Year's Eve dinner with crooner and pianist Noel Dimar, who was a fixture for two decades at Friday's Roast Beef House. His repertoire includes music from the Great American Songbook and Broadway, plus movie themes and hit parade numbers from the '40s to the '90s as sung by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin.
At the Sheraton Hotel downtown, jazz vocalist Bev Dunn will perform at “An Elegant Affair”, a 35+ singles-oriented party with cocktails and dinner. She'll play soft jazz tunes, followed by dancing to a DJ.
The Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata will not be offering a specific New Year's Eve party this year in the Options Jazz Lounge. Instead, the longtime duo of bassist Ken Seeley and saxophonist Brian Asselin will play “a funky splash of Old School, Soul and R&B”.
You can get home without drinking and driving on New Year's Eve, either: OC Transpo is free from 8 p.m. onwards into the wee hours, with a special holiday schedule in effect. It's advisable to check your trip home before you head out.
Details of these performances and many more jazz performances are available in our Live Jazz Guide. Become an OttawaJazzScene.ca supporter and get your copy too!
Read about last year's New Year's Eve: More choices than ever to enjoy New Year's eve with jazz 
Update December 21: Roddy Ellias has asked Mike Rud to replace him at The Lord Elgin, because of illness. We wish Roddy a quick recovery.