Ottawa's jazz scene has often been enriched by musicians who are here for a short time – a few months or a year – and then move on after having played in local jazz jams and with local musicians.

Nicholas Bracewell ©Brett Delmage, 2019
Nicholas Bracewell led the host band at Le Petit Chicago in April ©Brett Delmage, 2019

Drummer Nicholas Bracewell has had a peripatetic career: raised in Windsor, he received his Bachelors and Masters in jazz performance from Michigan State University across the border, and has also lived in Vancouver. He's performed at festivals around the U.S. and Canada such as the Detroit Jazz Festival and South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

He's currently in Ottawa, as his wife is studying here, and has been playing in jazz locations around town. In April, his quartet with three Ottawa musicians – guitarist Alex Moxon, bassist Chris Pond, and pianist Peter Hum – hosted the late-night Jazz Monday jazz jams at Le Petit Chicago. was there for the quartet's last Monday, where they performed a mix of jazz classics by Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, and Wayne Shorter, as well as originals by Hum and Moxon. The vibe was electric and elastic: in Moxon's “Crab Walk”, fluid guitar and bright piano soared over responsive bass and drums in a jazz fusion feel. Bracewell's strong drumming kept the energy up throughout, and in Coltrane's "26-2", he briskly traded 4's with Moxon.

Despite the nearby Chaudière Bridge being closed because of floodwaters in the Ottawa River, the bar gradually filled during the host band's set. Listeners applauded happily after each tune.

Bracewell will only be in Ottawa for another two to three months before heading back to the West Coast. But he will be bringing a trio to the Options Jazz Lounge at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata, on Wednesday, May 15. With him will be Chris Pond on double bass, and Montreal guitarist Julian Paulo Jayme, who has played in Mike Rud's Guitar Quartet as well as at the Ottawa and Vancouver jazz festivals.

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