The Ottawa Jazz Festival announced its lineup for 2010 on Thursday April 8, with nods to its past, a good chunk of Canadian and local content, and groups that will be new to almost everyone's ears.

However, there's more news to come. If you look at the programming grid, several main-stage slots remain unfilled. As well, the closing night was thrown into confusion only hours before the launch, when expected acts Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson abruptly cancelled.

The festival will commemorate its 30th anniversary this year. Festival executive director Catherine O'Grady said the programming team had gone through old festival programs, and looked for acts who had produced memorable concerts. The results include:

  • Trombone Shorty (a crowd-pleaser at last year's festival) (June 24)
  • Herbie Hancock (with guitarist Lionel Louecke) (June 25)
  • Kenny Garrett (June 27)
  • Joe Lovano (June 29)
  • Dave Brubeck (with the NAC Orchestra) (July 3)

Returning Canadian acts will include:

  • The Al Henderson Septet (June 26)
  • Christine Jensen's Jazz Orchestra (June 26)
  • Roddy Ellias and Jeri Brown (June 27)
  • John Geggie (with Cuong Vu) (June 29)
  • The Richard Underhill Ensemble (June 30)
  • Lorraine Desmarais' Big Band (July 1) and her trio (June 30)

O'Grady said that programing director Jacques Emond had particularly wanted to get blues great John Mayall, whose concert he remembered fondly, but Mayall wasn't touring this year. And, unfortunately, many of the greats who had played at the festival in the past three decades were now dead.

But there's also many new acts.

The Mash Potato Mashers marching inside Irene's pub on March 19.   photo ©2010 Brett Delmage This year, the festival will be opened by a local marching jazz band: Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers will parade down Elgin Street June 24, starting after 5:30 p.m. The northbound lane of Elgin from Cooper to Confederation Park will be closed for the band and accompanying dancers from the Ottawa School of Dance, and jazz fans. The band will march through the park and onto the main stage where it will play a few numbers before marching off.
The Mash Potato Mashers marching inside Irene's pub on March 19.   photo ©2010 Brett Delmage  

The Improv series, in particular, has new international names: Mikko Innanen Innkvisitio from Finland, and Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, for example. The late-night OLG Stage also has less-well-known acts, such as Syrian bandleader Omar Souleyman.

The full schedule is now up at .

When Emond was asked which Canadian artist he would most recommend seeing at the Festival, he replied without hesitation: "Michelle Gregoire. She's a very fine pianist from Winnipeg, and she has a wonderful group of musicians, mainly from Toronto: really big names. Kirk MacDonald, for example, who's no stranger to this town, will be part of her group. That's one not to be missed."

He also recommended Etienne Charles (June 25), who is a "wonderful trumpet player, and very talented. That is not to be missed either."

Jazz radio host Ron Sweetman said the three groups that he was "most looking forward to hearing live are, chronologically, Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles [June 25], my favourite small jazz group despite their unfortunate name Mostly Other People Do The Killing [June 27] and the European Globe Unity Project [June 28]."

Sweetman will air a two-hour introductory program on the Festival on In A Mellow Tone (CKCU FM, 93.1) on June 9.

Long-time local music supporter Harvey Glatt said that the Festival line-up "compared very favourably to what goes on in Toronto and Vancouver. We stack up well with these other festivals."

There were lots of names he didn't recognize in the program, but "very often in the past there have been names I don't know that have been some very wonderful surprises."

"I'm happy about Brubeck coming back. I saw him when he was here, two, three years ago, and I thought he was amazing. I saw him in concert back in the 60s and I thought he was playing as well, if not better than ever." Glatt presented that Brubeck concert in the 1960s in the Glebe High School auditorium.

Glatt said he was also glad to see local artists like Kellylee Evans and the Souljazz Orchestra getting mainstage exposure this year, because "there's been very little of that in the past. It's a bit of a breakthrough." He pointed out that the audience at the Festival is often not the same as those who see the local artists around town.

Ottawa Jazz Scene editor Alayne McGregor said she had always found Montreal saxophonist Christine Jensen both inventive and exciting, and was looking forward to her new Jazz Orchestra (June 26). "Christine once wrote a piece called 'For Tom Harrell' which I loved, and that inspired me to listen to Tom Harrell. I was really impressed with his records, so I now really want to hear him on July 4." Another pick would be Toronto bassist Al Henderson, who hasn't been in Ottawa for far too long, on June 26.

Ottawa Jazz Scene publisher Brett Delmage is looking forward to "Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers: It's largely an outdoor Festival, so the music should embrace that, not fight it. The Mashers have been demonstrating high musicianship and energy in some constrained clubs (next show May 1!) I can't wait to join them on Elgin Street, with ample space for marching and dancing."

"And musicians I don't know: I expect to be pleasantly surprised hearing a group I haven't met yet. The 2010 festival offers lots of that."