Ottawa Jazz Scene is now offering free classified ads for our subscribers. To find out what's available, or read instructions for submitting, please visit our classified ads page.

Roddy Ellias plays Cafe Paradiso - photo ©2009 Brett Delmage
Roddy Ellias plays Cafe Paradiso - photo ©2009 Brett Delmage

Roddy Ellias plays a sensitive passage with the Petr Cancura Trio in December 2009. He returns to Café Paradiso on Saturday night in his own series, with Guy Pelletier on flutes.    Photo ©2009 Brett Delmage

Phil Charbonneau (bass) and Linsey Wellman (sax) perform at Cafe Nostalgica, 2010 Feb 3 - photo c2010 Brett Delmage
Phil Charbonneau (bass) and Linsey Wellman (sax) perform at Cafe Nostalgica, 2010 Feb 3 - photo c2010 Brett Delmage

Phil Charbonneau (bass) and Linsey Wellman (sax) perform at Cafe Nostalgica, 2010 February 3, together with drummer Mike Essoudry. The group plays every Wednesday night in February.   detailed listing
photo ©2010 Brett Delmage

OJS editor Alayne McGregor interviewed NYC jazz flute player and composer Jamie Baum about her concert Thursday at Café Paradiso.

Jamie Baum - Photo © Enid Farber 2005
Jamie Baum - Photo © Enid Farber 2005
Jamie Baum's chosen instrument is the flute. Just the flute – well, both the regular C flute and the alto flute – but nothing else professionally. Unlike many jazz musicians, she doesn't double on the sax or the piano, or as a vocalist.  

She composes and she plays the flute.

And that has given the New York City-based musician the time and concentration to become a jazz leader and educator. Baum's last two CDs, Solace (2008) and Moving Forward, Standing Still (2004), were included in "best of the year" lists in Downbeat, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, and Jazziz. She has won awards and grants for composing, and has toured all over the world.

Baum has played Ottawa only once before, in November 2008 at the Avant-Garde Bar. This Thursday, she's at Cafe Paradiso with a quintet: NYC trumpeter Dave Smith, Toronto pianist David Braid, and two local favourites: bassist John Geggie and drummer Nick Fraser. She had previously played with Braid (who was recommended by Smith) in 2008, but this will be her first time playing with Geggie and Fraser. The group (minus Geggie) will also be playing at the Rex in Toronto on Wednesday.

At Paradiso, the quintet will be playing Baum's and Smith's originals and her interpretations of standards. She said the audience should expect modern jazz: primarily compositional but balanced with improvisation.

It's Monday. Mike Essoudry finished his ambitious Octet show at the NAC Fourth Stage on Saturday night, and has now come down with a cold. It's likely one outcome of the stress, and certainly the lack of sleep, associated with bringing a big show together.

But on the phone, the Ottawa drummer, composer, and band-leader enthusiastically describes his next project. "Mash Potato Mashers" will debut one week after his previous show, with an even larger group – nine pieces – and a different sound.

"You first describe it to people and they say 'It's kind of big and it's kind of weird. What's this going to be ?' "

Mike Essoudry - © 2008 Brett Delmage
Mike Essoudry - © 2008 Brett Delmage
The Mike Essoudry Octet is performing at the NAC Fourth Stage on Saturday February 6 at 8 p.m. See our detailed show listing.

Drummer, composer and band leader Mike Essoudry talked with Brett Delmage about the musicians, how he composed the music, and what listeners can expect to hear.

Some highlights from the interview

“Generally the way I write is melodic, not necessarily chordal. The beauty of the Rhodes is that it can cover a lot of ground... particularly the way [Adam Daudrich] plays it. It's got that bell-like sound and it has chord capability, so if I need it, it's there. The sound of a single-line melody can really cut through on a Rhodes, where sometimes on a piano it doesn't. So I can actually have him double lines with horns and not get it lost in the mix of a octet.”

“I like the compositional element of an Octet. .. the range of larger groups... the textural possibilities- that's a big one for me.”

 "Sometimes you might think 'this might be ok'... and you say 'oh wow – that sounds really good.'”

 “Because [as a drummer] I'm not the melody player, I can't put the emotion that I want to put into the melody because I'm not playing it. So sometimes that makes it a little tricky.”

 “It's music that you can really ride on... it's technical to be sure but the overiding thing is that it's listenable for sure... lots of various melodious things.”

Listen to the interview (9 minutes): [MP3]

Updated 2015 March 2: deleted incorrect reference to Ottawa Jazz Happenings

Friday, February 5 - 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. (Museum of Civilization)
Sunday, February 7 - 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Confederation Park)
Each performance is approximately 15 minutes.
Free

Jesse Stewart plays the ice at Winterlude, 2009 Feb 5 ©2010 Brett Delmage
Jesse Stewart plays the ice at Winterlude, 2009 Feb 5 ©2010 Brett Delmage

Ottawa percussionist Jesse Stewart has a new instrument – ice.

For "Glacialis", his new large-scale compositional project, Jesse has built musical instruments out of ice. Jointly commissioned by the NCC and the City of Toronto, this project was premiered in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto last Sunday as part of the WinterCity festival, and will appear at Winterlude this weekend.

He will be demonstrating and performing with this instrument on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. On Friday, he will be at the Museum of Civilization for a demonstration of the instruments at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., and a musical performance at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, he'll be at Confederation Park at 1 p.m., and again at 3 p.m.

CBC's All in Day had an interview with Jesse on January 28. You can download and listen to it at http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/ottallinaday_20100127_26552.mp3. CBC also has pictures at http://www.cbc.ca/allinaday/recent.html .

"These performances, coupled with the Nathan Phillips Square shows, mark the debut of the Jesse Stewart Ensemble, an ensemble I've formed to play music that I've written primarily for instruments that I've made out of a variety of elemental materials, namely earth/stone, metal, wood, fire, and water. This is the first time I've worked with water in its solid form," says Jesse.

photo ©2010 Brett Delmage

Despite only two days' notice, the "One, Two, Three for Haiti" concert at Carleton University on January 22 raised $570. The money will be donated to Unicef for its work to help Haitian children, and matched by the federal government.

The concert featured Jesse Stewart (drums, percussion), John Daapah (piano), and Linsey Wellman (saxophone, flute). The musicians started with each playing a solo piece and then moved to duos. Finally, all three played together.

Highlights included a soulful Gershwin piece by Daapah, a composition from Wellman's upcoming album featuring circular breathing, and a very new improvised piece from Stewart for electric guitar, vibraphone, drums, and "Happy Apple". (And, if you happen to see any (working) Happy Apples in thrift shops, he collects them.)

The October Trio's Evan Arntzen (sax) and Josh Cole (bass) play an original song on the Café Paradiso stage on June 18. photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010
The October Trio's Evan Arntzen (sax) and Josh Cole (bass) play an original song on the Café Paradiso stage on June 18. photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010
The October Trio (Evan Arntzen - saxophones, Josh Cole - bass, Dan Gaucher - drums) performed for an appreciative and unusually quiet crowd at Café Paradiso on Friday, June 18, as part of a tour of eastern Canada and the U.S..

Playing music that ranged from Bjork to standards, plus many of the band members' own compositions, the sax-bass-drums trio sounded moody at one moment, ethereal at the next, and post-bopping along shortly thereafter.  Two of the trio are still in Vancouver, while the third has moved to Toronto, but the musical communication among them was so tight the only things they needed to discuss were which pieces to play.

    – Alayne McGregor



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.