Petr Cancura ©Brett Delmage, 2013
Petr Cancura ©Brett Delmage, 2013

Hometown boy Petr Cancura will finally bring his Juno-nominated band Down Home to a general Ottawa audience this fall.

He'll be here as part of the NAC Presents series, which announced its fall season today. The season includes three jazz/improvised music concerts: Petr Cancura (October 30), Montreal pianist/composer Marianne Trudel (October 25), and throat singer/improviser Tanya Tagaq (November 7).

Based on old black & white photographs of the American South, Down Home is jazz infused with American roots music, from country to blues. Cancura has said the music was specifically inspired by a trip to the Otha Turner Family Goat Roast and blues festival in Mississippi in the summer of 2009. The band's self-titled album was nominated in the Instrumental Album category in this year's Juno Awards.

All the Down Home band's members are from Brooklyn, where Cancura now lives; the band's instrumentation includes Cancura on saxophone, banjo, and musicbox, plus cornet, trombone, tuba, piano, and bass – and, in particular, Cancura's frequent collaborator Richie Barshay on drums.

The album was released in January 2013: that June, Cancura and Down Home played at Carleton University, for a select audience at the university's Alumni Leadership Gala. Since then, he's been back in town in his role as programming manager for the Ottawa Jazz Festival, and played occasionally with other groups this winter: twice with Bumpin' Binary at Mugshots, once at GigSpace with Trekan (with Roddy Ellias and Andrew Downing), and leading the jams at the Winter Jazz Festival.

Pianist/composer Marianne Trudel got a delighted response for her new trio Trifolia last summer, at the Ottawa and Montreal Jazz Festivals. The band's first album, Le Refuge, was named album of the year in Quebec's Opus Awards, and was nominated for a 2014 Juno Award in the Contemporary Jazz Album category.

She's also busy with other projects: composing and arranging for L'Orchestre national de jazz Montréal, arranging for and backing up the vocal trio Triades, and her own groups. She has released five albums since 2005: solo, duo, trio, quintet, septet. At the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival, she received the Prix Galaxie-Étoiles de Radio-Canada. An inventive improviser as well as a composer, she's also been featured several times at the Guelph Jazz Festival, most recently in a trio with masters William Parker and Hamid Drake.

The NAC has not yet confirmed whether Trudel will be playing a solo concert or with other musicians.

Vocalist Tanya Tagaq blends Inuit throat singing with the influences of electronica, industrial and metal genres. She has most often been seen playing with Toronto percussionist/improviser Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot in wild, intense, unrepeatable concerts. Her latest album, Animism, was produced by Zubot, and features Martin, field recorder/live programmer Michael Red, and Belgian opera singer Anna Pardo Canedo. The NAC has not yet announced what form Tagaq's Ottawa concert will take.

This is the fourth season of NAC Presents. It announced a total of 28 performances today, including folk, indie, pop, and francophone Canadian musicians. In previous seasons, the series had substantially more jazz concerts in the spring rather than the fall.

The full 2013-14 NAC Presents season will be unveiled on September 18.

NAC Presents was chosen by Ottawa-Gatineau jazz fans as their favourite 2013 series in The Jazz Favourites Poll.

    – Alayne McGregor

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