Susanna Hood (dance and vocals), Scott Thomson (trombone) and Kyle Brenders (soprano sax) perform at the 2011 Guelph Jazz Festival     ©Brett Delmage
Susanna Hood (dance and vocals), Scott Thomson (trombone) and Kyle Brenders (soprano sax) perform at the 2011 Guelph Jazz Festival ©Brett Delmage

View photos of The Rent at the Guelph Jazz Festival, and of Jesse Stewart at IMOO.

This Sunday (June 10, 2012), Montreal improvising jazz musicians Susanna Hood and Scott Thomson will play in the Improvising Musicians of Ottawa-Outaouais (IMOO) series at the Umi Café, along with Ottawa percussionist Jesse Stewart.

Hood and Thomson are one-half of The Rent, a repertory band dedicated to the music of American composer and saxophonist Steve Lacy, as well as Thomson's compositions. That group presented a concert at the 2011 Guelph Jazz Festival, where the OttawaJazzScene.ca editors heard and photographed them.

We also have photos from two previous appearances by Jesse Stewart in the IMOO series in 2011, including one memorable occasion where he disassembled his drum kit and played music with the individual pieces.

Steve Lacy was known for collaborating with dancers in multimedia presentations, so it wasn't surprising that a major feature of The Rent's concert last September was Hood's dancing. Just like the other musicians in the group, she improvised her movements, responding to the music by (for example) rapidly circling around her centre of gravity, just on the edge of falling. She followed up sinuous leg kicks with deliberately restricted movements; in the encore, she struck poses, starting and stopping as the music started and stopped, and then moving more and more frantically in response to a fast drum solo.

Jesse Stewart plays part of his hi-hat cymbals as a 'brass' instrument, as part of his IMOO performance on 2011 April 3. ©Brett Delmage, 2011
Jesse Stewart plays part of his hi-hat cymbals as a 'brass' instrument, as part of his IMOO performance on 2011 April 3. ©Brett Delmage, 2011

But she was equally memorable as a singer, with a lovely clear soprano, although unfortunately the poor acoustics of the Guelph hall muffled some of her words (which should not be at problem at IMOO).

On Sunday, Hood and Thomson will perform a suite of Thomson's songs based on poems by P.K. Page. They performed two of these pieces in Guelph, and the combination of Hood's full, languid vocals, Wes Neal's growling bowed bass, and Thomson's trombone in "The Mole" was quite striking (followed by a very different flat, almost uninflected delivery of the end of the poem).

Hood also demonstrated her facility for wordless singing, for example in the introduction to the second P.K. Page piece, "Preparation": a clear ribbon of sound rising over the saxophone and trombone underneath.

It will be interesting to see how much Hood will be able to move in the confined spaces of the Umi Café, but, based on what OttawaJazzScene.ca heard in Guelph, the music should be ear-stretching and worth hearing.

    – Alayne McGregor

All images ©This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 2011
Information about the Inuit wall hangings in the photos

The Rent (Hood, Thomson, Brenders, Wes Neal, and Nick Fraser) performing in the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre at the 2011 Guelph Jazz Festival

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Jesse Stewart performing at IMOO at Umi Cafe, 2011 April 3 and 2011 July 17

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