Jazz fans have decided what they liked most about jazz in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2013, in The OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll. These poll results are part of the complete report that OttawaJazzScene.ca is publishing this week.
Find out more about this poll and view all the results.

Favourite jazz or improvised music CD:  Nepean All-City Jazz Band - The 25th Anniversary Concert

Runner-up:  Garry Elliott and Steve Boudreau - Pre-Dawn Skies

How the poll defined this category: “A jazz or improvised music CD released by an Ottawa-Gatineau musician or group in 2013.”

Ottawa-Gatineau jazz audiences have highly diverse tastes: that's the main conclusion one can draw from the results and comments in this category. There was support for many CDs; there were also respondents who strongly disliked some of the groups.

But overall the poll introduced respondents to new-to-them albums. “The Ottawa scene is producing some interesting music. I wish I could buy them all,” said one comment.

Nepean All-City Jazz Band: "Great band, full sound"

Well out in front was the Nepean All-City Jazz Band's album celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013.

“I found it was amazing how musicians in their youth could produce such great music,” said one comment. “Great band, full sound, great concert, historical,” said another. “I love Claire Devlin playing Body and Soul!” said a third. “This is a bunch of teenagers!!! Sound like seasoned pros,” said a fourth.

One musician said “I was in this band so I'm a little biased! But seriously, in my opinion, this was an extremely talented youth band with players like Emily Denison, Claire Devlin, Sam Cousineau, Deniz Lim-Sersan and others. I'm sure we will see more from these players in the very near future and look back on this recording as a great example of their roots.”

In particular, respondents liked hearing and supporting “young upcoming musicians”. “Many go on to study music - what a great way to promote young talent,” one pointed out. The “program supports local, youth jazz musicians and by proxy, interest in jazz music continuing in the community for years to come,” said another.

Pre-Dawn Skies: "beautiful music"

The runner-up was the thoughtful and nuanced duo album by guitarist Garry Elliott and pianist Steve Boudreau, Pre-Dawn Skies.

“I love the interaction and original tunes on the Boudreau-Elliott CD,” said one comment. “Beautiful music...great grooves,” said another.

“I really admire and enjoy the original compositions, the stellar playing and the way the two artists play off each other,” said a third. “Masterful players. Great tunes,” said a fourth.

Other CDs also came in for praise: the “choice of music and the enthusiasm with which it is played” of Honest Company by Brian Browne and Peter Woods; the “live feeling” and the compositions in Rob Frayne's Dr.EAMBAND; the “beautiful piano playing” and “not standard fare” in Steve Boudreau's Open Arms; the “diverse, intense, and phenomenal playing” by Jesse Stewart and Hamid Drake in Timelines; the repertoire and original interpretations in Gaby Warren's Reflections of a Jazz Fanatic.

More exposure needed

There were many respondents who said they had heard few, if any, of the CDs. In some cases, they indicated this Poll would spur them to try to find out more. (Where available, the Poll included links to album websites where the CD could be sampled and even purchased.)

One person suggested some musicians needed “a reinforced online presence... I'm certain that some of them do, but I felt bad looking through the titles and being unfamiliar with so many.”

One person (who did vote for one CD) wasn't impressed with many of the CDs: “There were many poor CD's released under the 'jazz' category. Unfortunately they were quite amateurish sounding as the musicians did not seem to [be] at a competency level that one would expect in a jazz offering.”

One respondent suggested including the recent CD by Delbert & The Commotions. However, while that band includes several local jazz musicians, it describes itself as a mix of “Soul, Funk, and RnB”, not jazz.

The list “demonstrates that Ottawa has an active scene of creative and skilled musicians,” said one comment. “A great number of quality CDs continue to be made by musicians of this region. This is facilitated by a number of excellent recording technicians,” said another.

As one respondent summed up: “2013 was a very good year for local CDs."

    – Alayne McGregor and Brett Delmage

The Favourite  nominees

Craig Pedersen Quartet
Why Paint at All
Rob Frayne
Rob Frayne Dr.EAMBAND - Home
Florquestra Brasil
Trouble Clef (Katie Hurdon, Alex Tompkins, Jose Arocena, Matt Aston)
Driftwood (EP)
Bright Side
Jesse Stewart & Hamid Drake
Brian Browne and Peter Woods
Honest Company
Nepean All-City Jazz Band
Nepean All-City Jazz Band - The 25th Anniversary Concert
Garry Elliott and Steve Boudreau
Pre-Dawn Skies
Maria has Lost Her Soul
Ryan Purchase
Morphology of a Lover
Rebecca Noelle
A Night at Maggie's
Jozée Devoua & Swing Addiction
Jazz Winterlude
Improvising Musicians of Ottawa/Outaouais (IMOO)
Other People’s Art
Craig Pedersen & Joel Kerr
It's a Free Country
Gaby Warren
Reflections of a Jazz Fanatic
Steve Boudreau
Open Arms

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Please refer to “The OttawaJazzScene.ca's Jazz Favourites Poll” when citing or linking to results. On twitter please use the #OttJazzFavs tag. Thank you.

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Read interviews with the artists about these CDs: