Nicole Ratté at the Rendez-Vous Rideau Jazz  festival Stage. ©Brett Delmage
Nicole Ratté at the Rendez-Vous Rideau Jazz festival Stage. ©Brett Delmage
Singer Nicole Ratté brought verve and a bright smile to the Rideau Centre Stage Sunday at noon. Her quintet played a characteristic mix of standards – but with a few unexpected twists, such as "A Wish" by Fred Hersch and Norma Winstone. Ratté gave a heartfelt rendition of that song, slow and tender.

She played with pianist J.P. Allain (who wrote many of the arrangements), bassist Normand Glaude, drummer Denis Ouellet, and saxophonist Mike Tremblay, all of whom also played on her debut album last year. In songs like "Pennies from Heaven" and "If I only had words", Tremblay's tenor sax underlined Ratté's vocals, adding depth and interest to the song. In "My Favourite Things", Allain's syncopated piano worked with a similarly rhythmic sax line against the smooth vocals, moving it outside of the straight show-tune box.

Ratté also added one song in her native French: "Je voudrais voir la mer" by Québec singer Michel Rivard, of Beau Dommage, with a bit of added swing. She will sing more jazz versions of well-known Quebec songs at her
July 4 appearance at Les Brasseurs du Temps.

    – Alayne McGregor

See the OttawaJazzScene.ca interview:
Nicole Ratté: coming to jazz by her own path

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All photos ©Brett Delmage. Click a thumbnail to view a larger photo.