Interviews with Canadian jazz musicians, including jazz performance excerpts, are featured in these podcasts produced by OttawaJazzScene.ca.
The Beeched Wailers celebrated their 5th anniversary, as a group and of presenting open jazz jams, at Irene's Pub on March 5.
They presented their first show at the Rochester Pub in 2014, moved to the Wellington Eatery in 2015 when the Rochester closed, then went to Bar Robo – and finally ended up at Irene's Pub almost two years ago, where they've been happily playing ever since. As saxophonist Tyler Harris says in our podcast interview, "it's been a bit of a travelling circus".
The Wailers released their first album, The Johnson Lake Sessions, in 2015. They also regularly perform music by other local jazz composers.
Listen to the interview with Nicholas Dyson (Beeched Wailers leader / founder / trumpeter) and founding member / saxophonist Tyler Harris about their experiences in the past five years. Thgere may be a delay while the audio loads. Download
The Beeched Wailers open jazz jams continue every Tuesday at Irene's Pub from 9 p.m. to midnight. The band plays one opening set then opens the floor to jammers. All are welcome. Donations are appreciated.
In recent years Ottawa jazz guitarist Justin Duhaime has been specializing in performing – and promoting – what's called jazz manouche or gypsy jazz.
Jazz manouche was first popularized by guitarist Django Reinhardt in the 1930s, in his Quintet of the Hot Club of France, in conjunction with violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Duhaime has been regularly performing this music in duos with fellow guitarist Nabil Yaghi, and in larger groups like Django Libre and his own groups with violinist William Lamoureux, as well as bringing masters of this style to perform in Ottawa concerts.
On May 29, Duhaime was recognized as the 2018 RBC Emerging Artist by the Ottawa Arts Council, the first musician to receive this award. It recognizes and encourages the achievements of Ottawa artists who are in the early stages of their career in the arts and are working towards becoming recognized professional artists, while engaging with the community.
After Duhaime received the award, he talked with OttawaJazzScene.ca about
Listen to the complete interview with Justin Duhaime
From ballads to blues, from standards to free improv, from emerging jazz musicians to veterans – listeners heard it all at the second Jazz Ramble on May 25 and 26 at the Record Centre.
And when the Ramble ended on Saturday just before 10 a.m., four of those listeners were still awake, having made it through the entire 24 hours.
This was the second edition of the Ramble (the first was in 2016). From 10 a.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday, it featured 25 local groups, one per hour, plus a drum circle which played between sets on the sidewalk.
The groups were mostly different from two years before, with only three repeating. In addition, more than 25 of the musicians performing this year were not at the previous Ramble.
The event was designed to promote Ottawa's jazz scene and the Ottawa Jazz Festival. The festival awarded a Bronze Pass to each of three fans who stayed to listen to every single act: Tariq Amery, Rob Leger, and Marcia Rodriguez. The fourth was OttawaJazzScene.ca's Brett Delmage, who not only listened throughout but made photos of every group which performed and tweeted every hour.
Friday evening and Saturday morning – hours 8 through 23 – of the 2018 Jazz Ramble continued to demonstrate the diversity and strength of Ottawa's jazz scene.
At 5 p.m., the Lucas Haneman Express – with Haneman on guitar, Megan Laurence on vocals, and Martin Newman on bass, but minus their drummer Jeff Asselin – played a quieter set, more acoustic than their usual electric blues.
They were followed by Jazz Festival programming director Petr Cancura, who again brought a new project to the Ramble, as he did in 2016. This time, he went in a very different direction, writing tunes influenced by singer-songwriter music, instead of his previous jazz and roots music. Cancura later told OttawaJazzScene.ca that he would be leaving for New York City right after the Ramble, in order to record these originals with musicians there. The Ramble show allowed him to workshop the tunes, he said, and the musicians he played with here (guitarist Alex Moxon, bassist J.P. Lapensée, and drummer Michel Delage) “were very gracious to do it.”
Saturday (April 21, 2018) is Record Store Day, a day which celebrates the culture of independent record stores. To mark it, OttawaJazzScene.ca interviewed John Thompson, the owner of The Record Centre in Ottawa. His store's core business is vintage vinyl and audio equipment, but he's expanded beyond that into supporting Ottawa's live music scene.
John Thompson is always on the hunt for great music.
For decades, he's been collecting and selling used vinyl – making a living doing exactly he loves and not having a "real job" – with jazz records a good part of his stock.
But more recently, he's expanded into current music – hosting live shows by local and touring musicians, and running his own record label.
Since 2014, Thompson's Record Centre store in Hintonburg has become a place for local musicians, including many jazz groups, to showcase their projects. The store has hosted more than 300 shows in the last four years. Some live-off-the-floor recordings at the store have been released on the store's own Record Centre record label.
One of the biggest live music events at the store was all jazz: 24 groups in 24 hours at the Jazz Ramble in 2016. Thompson said the store will be repeating that event next month: hosting a second Jazz Ramble in conjunction with the Ottawa Jazz Festival. The 2018 ramble will run from 10 a.m. on Friday, May 25 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 26.
The store has a large jazz collection, reflecting Thompson's own love of jazz. On a recent visit, he showed off many recent jazz acquisitions on vinyl – from Dave Brubeck to Roland Raahsan Kirk to Sun Ra, with some highly uncommon treasures.
Marc Decho has been the bassist with the Miguel de Armas Latin Jazz Quartet / Miguel de Armas Trio for five years, since it started in 2012. He talked enthusiastically with OttawaJazzScene.ca's Brett Delmage about the music the group will perform at this Wednesday's NAC Presents concert, the guest musicians who will join them, and the surprising way that Decho came to meet de Armas and be a part of the group.
On Wednesday, November 29, Ottawa vocalist Karen Oxorn will step into the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage, and pay tribute to her favourite jazz vocalist of all time, Ella Fitzgerald.
Her 'An Ella Celebration! The Classic Songbook Recordings' concert is the latest in a series of large-scale tribute concerts which she's organized over the last decade, at the NAC, GigSpace, and local festivals. She's been thinking about this show for three years, and preparing for it for the past two years.
She talked with OttawaJazzScene.ca's Brett Delmage about some of the ideas behind it and the extensive work required to bring it to the stage.
The Sunday Sessions at Irene’s in November feature Marc Decho’s Warp'tet, performing a tribute to Jaco Pastorius. The Warp'tet’s members are Marc Decho on six-string electric bass, Ed Lister on trumpet, Vince Rimbach on soprano and tenor saxes, Richard Page on bass clarinet and electronics, Clayton Connell on keys, and Valeriy Nehovora on drums.
Our podcast features three music excerpts from the group’s first week developing this material at Irene’s. All are pieces performed by Jaco Pastorius, rearranged by Decho for this group. The first ensemble clip and the bass solo clip are from "Reza". The third music excerpt is from "Mr Gone".
OttawaJazzScene Editor Alayne McGregor talked with Marc Decho after the concert about the appeal of Jaco’s music, Marc’s six-string electric bass, and an unusual reason why the group will not play on the final Sunday of this grey month.
Increasingly, Steve Boudreau has found that George Gershwin “permeates all the music that I look at”.
For the last few years, the Ottawa jazz pianist has been listening to, absorbing, and performing the music of the renowned Jazz Age composer. On Sunday, October 22, he'll release a CD of almost-all Gershwin compositions, in a show at the NAC Fourth Stage.
Entitled Preludes, it's centred around the three short Preludes which Gershwin composed in the 1920s, whose form is classical but whose spirit is definitely jazz. To those, Boudreau has added four songs from the opera Porgy and Bess, and several other Gershwin tunes which have become jazz standards – plus two of Boudreau's own tunes. The CD closes with a piece by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who has also acknowledged his debt to Gershwin.
OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor recently interviewed Boudreau about Gershwin, the CD, and the upcoming release show. In our podcast interview, Boudreau explains:
Mike Essoudry is giving compositions – which he says reflect our current times – their first airing this month, as his new Epoch Quintet hosts Jazz Mondays at Le Petit Chicago.
He's workshopping the tunes – many brand-new – with the quintet, which also premièred this month. When OttawaJazzScene.ca heard them on September 11, the music was rich, multi-layered, and strongly interactive. The room was mostly full, and the audience applauded strongly.
Essoudry has been a regular player in the decade-long series at the downtown Gatineau club, and several times used it as a place to try out new projects. The Jazz Mondays host band (which changes each month) plays a first set of approximately an hour, and then opens up the second set for other musicians to join in for a jazz jam.
He's gathered four other Ottawa musicians into the quintet, all of whom he's played with before in other groups. Guitarist Alex Moxon (the HML Trio and the Chocolate Hot Pockets) and saxophonist Zakari Frantz (the Souljazz Orchestra) are well-known on the scene, while bassist Phil Charbonneau has lately been playing more with indie groups like the Hilotrons. Pianist Roland Racz moved to Ottawa a few years ago from Hungary, where he had won many awards, and has been steadily increasing his profile here.
When William Lamoureux starts playing his violin, there's an instant alertness in the audience, a focus on him on the stage.
Perhaps it's the fluidity and energy of his playing, or the way he can switch effortlessly between percussive bowing and bittersweet melodies, or how his violin can sing so expressively.
Lamoureux is only 21 years old. He was raised in Gatineau, where he studied classical violin for ten years at the Québec Music Conservatory. But at the end of his teens, he made an abrupt change in focus – he decided to study in Humber College in Toronto, whose well-regarded program covers jazz and popular music. He studied there with jazz musicians including violinist Drew Jurecka, guitarist Ted Quinlan, saxophonists Kirk MacDonald and Pat LaBarbera, trombonist Alastair Kay, and vocalist Denzal Sinclaire. He was awarded the college's Board of Governors’ Award in 2016. In June, he graduated with a bachelors degree in music.
In the last four years, he has spread his wings in many different projects. His solo Playground Project is a one-man-band act where he interprets well-known pop tunes arranged live on stage with vocals, violin, percussion and effects pedals. He founded the Québec rock group, the Billy Love Band, which also includes local jazz musicians J.P. Lapensée and Andrew Ferderber. In Toronto, he belongs to four bands: the 12-piece R&B/Soul/Latin band 7Sould; the gypsy jazz sextet, Hotline Swing; with vocalist Kalyna Rakel; and the improvising world music quartet So Long Seven.
[read the OttawaJazzScene.ca review of So Long Seven]
Toronto is now home to Lamoureux – but he frequently returns to Ottawa and Gatineau to perform with jazz and pop musicians here. One frequent collaborator is jazz vocalist Nicole Ratté. He'll perform as part of her quintet on Tuesday, July 25, in a free outdoor show at 7 p.m. in Le Parc des Deux-Ruisseaux in the plateau area of Gatineau.
On March 31, the Ottawa 2017 Juno Host Committee hosted “Ottawa as a Music City” at the City of Ottawa Innovation Centre.
Its panel discussion was moderated by Giacomo Panico and included panelists
The panel discussed topics that included building a sustainable music scene, how to develop audiences, the suburban scene, involving young women musicians, how to include Gatineau in the Ottawa scene, and getting the word out about musicians and shows.
Prior to the panel discussion, Mayor Jim Watson announced the creation of a City of Ottawa Music strategy, and members of the panel reacted to that announcement.
Start points of specific segments in the Panel recording below
0:00 Overall introduction of the event
4:41 Giacomo Panico and politicians intros
13:52 Councillor Jeff Leiper intro
16:01 Councillor Jeff Leiper introduces Mayor Watson
16:41 Major Jim Watson speaks and announces creation of City of Ottawa Music Strategy
27:52 Introductions of panelists
31:33 Panico introduces the six topics
32:11 Amy Terrill reaction to Watson's annoucnement on City coordination
35:51 Scott May's experience with City Hall as a music venue owner
38:05 Kathleen Edwards on venues
51:30 Amy Terrill on audience development
56:42 Kathleen Edwards on a venue outside the core
1:00:13 pop-up opportunities
After the panel discussion OttawaJazzScene.ca's Alayne McGregor interviewed Councillor Jeff Leiper, whose office had co-sponsored the event. Leiper responded to speakers' comments. He also answered our questions about musicians not being paid for their work by the Ottawa Jazz Festival which receives annual funds from the City, and a request for free musicians for an event from another city councillor. (In the week before the event, OttawaJazzScene.ca had received a request from a city councillor's office looking for free musicians for a city event; text below.)
– Brett Delmage and Alayne McGregor
See our related story Mayor Watson: City of Ottawa will develop its first music strategy
Listen to the Ottawa as a Music City panel discussion Download
Listen to the interview with Councillor Jeff Leiper Download
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:55:29
Subject: Event Inquiry
City Councillor Riley Brockington will be hosting an event on December 29 to wrap up the Ottawa 2017 celebrations, and I wanted to inquire about the possibility of booking a local jazz group to put on a 10 minute performance. The performance would be scheduled between 6:45pm-9:00pm, with an official time set once we finalize our programming.
As this event is free for the public to attend, we would be looking for a group that would be willing to donate their time, or perform for a low cost since the event is funded 100% from sponsorships. In exchange for the free or reduced rate, we would be happy to include the band’s name in the advertisements.
Please let me know if this is possible.
Community Outreach & Event Coordinator
Office of Councillor Riley Brockington
Ward 16 - River Ward, City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Ave West, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
After next Tuesday, more people could know how diverse and active Ottawa's jazz scene is.
The Record Centre is hosting 24 hours of live local jazz starting at 10 a.m. The music will range from jazz vocals, to guitar trios, to solo saxophone improvisations, to organ and drum grooves, to a tuba/voice duet.
Well-known local jazz musicians including John Geggie, Roddy Ellias, Rob Frayne, Mike Essoudry, Tim Bedner, Alex Moxon, Christine Fagan, Megan Jerome, Petr Cancura, Zakari Frantz, Richard Page, Lucas Haneman, Linsey Wellman, Ed Lister, Michel Delage, Alex Bilodeau, and many more are performing. Ottawa Citizen jazz journalist Peter Hum is leading one trio.
The event is the brainchild of Ottawa Jazz Festival programming director Petr Cancura, who has teamed up with the Hintonburg vinyl and audio store to offer 24 mini-concerts from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday. Each concert is 45 minutes long, starting on the hour. There's no admission charge, but donations will be encouraged.
It's a last-minute event: Cancura only came up with the idea this week. On Tuesday morning, he phoned Record Centre owner John Thompson, and received Thompson's immediate and enthusiastic assent. The list of groups was still being finalized as late as Thursday, and a few more changes were published Friday evening. But both Thompson and Cancura were confident that it would be a success.
Guitarist William O'Neill is a fan of big band music. On May 7, he presented his graduation recital with his big band, in the Kailash Mital Theatre at Carleton University.
His concert featured his original tunes and arrangements and received a standing ovation.
“What really fostered, again, my love for big band music and big sound music was being a part of the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra. I love the big band style. There's so many options. You can have the power of a freight train or the softness of a soft wind. There are so many elements you can have in this size of group, which I think is just so important and so cool about jazz.”
After his recital, William talked with OttawaJazzScene.ca about how he put together this big band concert. He also spoke about his experience studying music for four years at Carleton University.
Listen to the podcast [10 minutes]
You are welcome to download the podcast for personal listening. Please respect our copyright. Do not copy our content to another website, including Facebook. Link to our page instead.
– Brett Delmage
Music student Andrew Ferderber has been heard by Ottawa-Gatineau jazz audiences as the drummer driving the Capital Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Carleton University Fusion Ensembles, or jamming regularly at the Tuesday evening Beeched Wailers jams and at Jazz Mondays at Le Petit Chicago. He's also played regularly around town in non-jazz groups: with Rômmel Ribeiro, in the Billy Love Band, and in Blast from the Sun.
On May 6, he presented his final graduation performance in Carleton University's Kailash Mital Theatre, with much enthusiasm and care, and a great deal of preparation. His work paid off well - he received a grade of A+ a few days later for his ninety-minute concert.
Ferderber spoke with OttawaJazzScene.ca at the end of his performance. He shared his thoughts on the value of studying four years of music at Carleton U, his preparations for the concert, and about music in general.
Thanks to Kailash Mital Theatre's sound engineer John Rosefield, who provided the live concert audio recording. He puts you right on Ferderber's drum throne for the performance of Spain (headphones recommended).
– Brett Delmage
Listen to the podcast [28 minutes]
You are welcome to download the podcast for personal listening - Please respect our copyright. Do not copy our content to another website, including Facebook. Link to our page instead.
Whitehorse, Yukon, is not the first place you think as a jazz mecca. But vocalist Fawn Fritzen doubts she would have ever starting singing jazz if it hadn't been for Whitehorse's supportive and nurturing arts scene.
"I really believe that if I hadn't moved to Whitehorse I wouldn't have pursued [singing] professionally."
And successfully enough that Fritzen has just released her second album, Pairings, featuring many high-profile Canadian jazz musicians. After two packed shows in Whitehorse, she's now in southern Canada for a series of CD release shows, including in Ottawa.
This CD has Fritzen singing in duos (voice/bass, voice/drums, voice/piano, and even voice/saxophones) with musicians including Steve Amirault, Dave Restivo, Reg Schwager, George Koller, Kurt Schwonik, Kelly Jefferson, Richard Underhill, and Shirantha Beddage. It combines popular jazz standards (Cole Porter) and some which should be better-known (Francesca Blumenthal) – and even includes a rare tune by The Guess Who. Fritzen also contributes four of her own originals, one of them inspired by CBC Tonic host Tim Tamashiro's ideas about "drinky" jazz.
At her Ottawa concert on Wednesday, May 11, she'll perform with two of the musicians on the CD: pianist Dave Restivo and bassist George Koller.
Fritzen was in Ottawa earlier this week. OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor got together with her to learn about the unexpected path that led her into jazz and to this new album.
In particular, Fritzen explained how she chose the different material on the CD, and how excited she was to have found lesser-known gems to record on it.
When she arrived for her interview with OttawaJazzScene.ca on Monday, Ottawa jazz singer Karen Oxorn was toting a bag of her favourite LPs.
She'd recently bought a new turntable and got back into listening to vinyl, she told editor Alayne McGregor, and she wanted to show off some of the music which had influenced her over the years. She pulled out one of the first records she ever bought – Elton John's first album – as well as an LP by her favourite vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, and the soundtracks to the musicals Funny Girl and My Fair Lady, and talked about the memories they inspired.
The musical journey encompassed by those LPs and more will be reflected in her two concerts this weekend, which will also celebrate her 60th birthday. On Friday, January 29, she'll perform with pianist Steve Boudreau at GigSpace in Ottawa, and Saturday at the Baldachin Inn in Merrickville.
Oxorn has specialized in interpreting the Great American Songbook, but with her own touches and a great deal of care and polish. She's organized and performed in tributes to many of her favourite vocalists of yesteryear – including Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday (twice).
But the sources and inspiration for this show are broader, including different interpretations of songs by different jazz vocalists.
OttawaJazzScene.ca recorded our chat with Oxorn. You can listen to the entire interview below. Here are some highlights of what Oxorn said about the two shows and her plans for 2016, 2017, and her next 20 years.
On women being considered invisible after age 45: “[These days], society as a whole is looking for the art of things and less concerned about what somebody looks like, how old somebody is. They want to really see what they have to bring to it and the experience that enriches what they do. So I think for me – and also having started so late in music, I was already in my 40s – I don't think that's been an impediment.
Update: See our review and photos of of Gaby Warren's Ottawa CD release concert.
Despite his 40-year career in the Canadian foreign service, Gaby Warren has been an integral part of Ottawa's jazz scene since the early 1980s. He's served as the vice-president of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, and a JazzWorks jam coordinator. In 2005, the Ottawa Jazz Festival gave Warren its Award of Distinction for his commitment to jazz in Ottawa-Gatineau.
He's also one of the biggest jazz fans in town – not uncritically, by any means – but with a deep appreciation of many types of jazz. You frequently see him at concerts and clubs around Ottawa.
Talking to Warren – and he's always delighted to do so – is an education in itself. Partly courtesy of his travels for the government and expertise in issues related to the United Nations, he's seen more influential jazz musicians in concert than almost anyone. He also has an impressive CD habit, and these days, he's listening to live concerts from Smalls in NYC over the Internet.
But his deepest love is for Afro-Cuban jazz, courtesy of a stint in the Canadian embassy in Cuba in the mid-1960s. The result: Warren and Cuba had far more impact on each other than could ever have been predicted, including bringing music to renowned musicians like Chucho Valdès and Paquito D'Rivera.
Now Warren has stepped to the other side of the footlights. After 16 years of studying jazz vocals and 8 years of music theory lessons, he's released a CD. It's effectively his musical memoirs, playing hommage to the styles of jazz he loves, and backed by some fine musicians from Ottawa and Toronto. They include veteran Toronto saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, and the Geggie Trio (John Geggie on bass, Nancy Walker on piano, and Nick Fraser on drums) well-known for their decade-long run as the house band for the jams at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, and much more as individual jazz musicians in Ottawa and Toronto.
The CD's official release is at a concert in Ottawa this Tuesday (May 21) at the NAC Fourth Stage, and at The Rex Jazz Club in Toronto on June 3.
It's entitled Reflections of a Jazz Fanatic, and that's exactly how Warren refers to himself. He makes no secret of how much he loves the music.
OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor interviewed Warren a week before his concert, in an extended, free-flowing interview about how he was introduced to jazz, his adventures in Cuba, what types of jazz he loves, how he started singing, and about the album itself. We're releasing it as a podcast, and have included some excerpts from the podcast below.
Read the OttawaJazzScene.ca review of the premiere of this show: Making the most of great songs (review)
Sometime – on the radio, on a CD, in a club, in a concert – you've probably heard someone perform the song "My Attorney Bernie": "Bernie tells me what to do; Bernie lays it on the line. Bernie says we sue, we sue; Bernie says we sign, we sign."
It's infectious, it's memorable, it's funny, and it hides some disquieting contradictions that make you think twice – and then enjoy it more.
It's by Dave Frishberg, an American jazz pianist and songwriter, who has been writing and performing this type of song for more than four decades. Some of his songs are satirical, some are bittersweet, and some are straight-out love songs (to baseball as well as the opposite sex).
Frishberg's albums aren't easy to find; his fans have to hunt through jazz record stores when on vacation, and search online.
And those fans include many well-known female jazz singers, who have recorded many of his songs.
One local fan is Ottawa jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon. On Thursday, April 26, Yoxon will team up with pianist J.P. Allain to present an evening of Frishberg's songs, rearranged for a quartet and her voice, but with the smart, sometimes funny, sometimes sad lyrics fully intact.
OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor sat down recently with Yoxon to talk about the concert and how Yoxon became a Frishberg fan.
Listen to the podcast [15 min, 10 MB]
OttawaJazzScene.ca: You call this project My Pal Frishberg. So what's the relationship between you and Dave Frishberg?
René Gely came to Ottawa a few years ago, after living in cities around the world. He often plays jazz, but his musical interests are far wider than that – and that's particularly evident with his group Pulse Mondiale, which will be appearing at the NAC Fourth Stage on Thursday, February 2. The show opens the 2012 Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.
There's a bit of jazz, there's some Brazilian music, there's Hungarian melodies: Pulse Mondiale's sound is an amalgam of many influences, but the overall feel is warm and friendly. It's defined, if anything, by Gely's vocals and guitar and Rob Graves' wide range of percussion, but it also can encompass many other instruments, as you can hear on Pulse Mondiale's most recent album, Testament, released in December, 2010.
OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor talked with Gely recently about Pulse Mondiale and how it came about, what to expect at the concert, and his future plans. The interview is available as a podcast [mp3, 21 min] , and we've also transcribed it here.
One of my early introductions to Craig Pedersen and his music was his Master of Music (M.Mus.) graduating recital in April 2010. It was a performance combination of classical trumpet, trumpet with laptop (both played by him), and a marching band that took everyone by surprise as it marched through the audience up the aisle to the stage to perform. Pedersen's recital demonstrated his open approach to music, willingness to take musical risks, and ability to engage audiences.
Since then, I've had the opportunity to hear (and photograph) Pedersen play with his quartet and other musicians in a variety of Ottawa-Gatineau venues, and to hear his compositions, musicianship, and improvisation develop. More recently, I witnessed Craig Pedersen's Quartet open for the Ottawa Jazz Festival's presentation of the Jerry Granelli Trio, tightly and in fine form. They were very warmly received.
Having witnessed the development of his music and his musicianship for almost two years in live performances, I looked forward to interviewing him about his latest significant achievement: the completion and release of the Craig Pedersen Quartet's new CD, Days like Today. We talked one week before his CD release.
Pedersen spoke frankly during our interview, sharing his resolute musical ideas and approaches both in the broad sense and as developed on this album, how he persisted in mastering the trumpet, and how he desires to communicate with listeners (and wants them to relate to him). What really appealed to me was Pedersen's stated goal to deliver a total artistic work around Days like Today and his hands-on commitment to make that happen.
I hope you will enjoy our discussion as much as I did. Pedersen had a lot to say. We were hard-pressed to edit much of it away, and so we ended up with a substantial piece! In addition to providing the complete interview in one track, we have broken it up into smaller, cohesive sections. We have also provided a written transcript of it in addition to the recorded audio MP3 files.
Pedersen encourages listeners to hear his CD in recorded order to fully appreciate his carefully crafted narrative. Similarly, I encourage you to listen to him in his own voice in the podcast. Only that way will you fully appreciate his enthusiasm and other feelings about his fourth-born, his fellow musicians on this CD, the music industry, and the Ottawa-Gatineau scene.
– Brett Delmage
Listen to the complete interview [1h 10min]
Audio for each section of the interview is available on its corresponding transcript page. Read more to view the index.
Jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon and keyboard player François Gravel have just completed two years of playing together every Monday night in the lower level of the Mercury Lounge (formerly Bar 56, now the Overkill Bar). That makes them one of the longer-running weekly acts in the city.
OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor interviewed Renée the day before her anniversary show, asking her for her secrets of success, and what a Monday late-night crowd is really like.
You can hear the podcast at 111106-Yoxon2ndAnnInterview.mp3 [6:47 minutes, 4MB].
Trumpet and flugelhorn player Rick Rangno arranged the majority of the pieces in Ottawa Jazz Orchestra's Monk, Miles and Mingus go to Town concert on Saturday, March 26.
Rick told OttawaJazzScene.ca's Brett Delmage about what listeners can expect to hear during this show, what they won't hear, and shared his approach to arranging (his influences included Gil Evans and Duke Ellington). He also revealed what he will be personally doing on the stage on Saturday night. It's great background to Ottawa Jazz Orchestra's latest concert.
Rick promises both good sound (this church's acoustics are more suited to the orchestra), and a unique sound, with bass, drums, a string quartet, bassoon, oboe, trumpet, flugelhorn, and three woodwind players. "much more intimate, maybe a little bit more flexible, and, because of the instrumentation there's going to be a lot of colour in the arrangements."
Listen to the podcast [9 mins, 4.2 MB]
Ottawa musical improviser, and Carleton University music professor Jesse Stewart is known for creating and making music from non-traditional instruments, although he is also an accomplished percussionist. Paper, balloons, ice, and precisely-tuned cut marble stones are but a few of the objects which he has creatively used to make musical sounds, and he has encouraged his students to do the same.
This month (January, 2011), Stewart is curating musical performances every Saturday which interact with a new art installation by David Rokeby: Very Nervous System (VNS), at the Carleton University Art Gallery. VNS is a computer vision system that translates human movement within the exhibit space and in its camera's view into sound.
Stewart talked to OttawaJazzScene.ca's Brett Delmage about the history and behaviour of Very Nervous System, his upcoming performance with it on Saturday, January 22, and the following week's unique performance by renowned Canadian saxophonist David Mott.
Listen to the interview [mp3, 15 MB].
Photos: Jesse Stewart interacts with the Very Nervous System while exploring and creating complementary sounds of his own. ©Brett Delmage, 2011
A few excerpts from the interview
“I'm interested in the spaces between artistic disciplines, and in blurring and combining my interest in both the sonic and visual arts.
“[An interest of mine is] taking something familiar and to see and hear it in a different way, and hopefully by extension, look and listen to the world in a different way... to try to create some new relationship between myself and that new material, whatever it happens to be. Sound is a way to do that...
“After you walk out of the gallery, you are going to listen to sound in a different way.
“Sound is tactile. Our whole bodies can be resonating chambers.
“The gestural vocabulary involved in playing percussion is something that is of interest to me and I will explore in my performance on Saturday.
The Albert Ayler Christmas Carols Mix at the Mercury Lounge was one of the last shows of 2009 but became one of my unexpected favourites. Free of syrup and full of zest, some of Ottawa-Gatineau's talented improvisers and jazz musicians unleashed the mash-up of Albert Ayler and Christmas standards in unexpected ways.
Now, 12 years or so after project leader Bernard Stepien started thinking about the concept, and after three or so years of live performances, and after a City grant and a more rigorous study and approach to the mash-up. the group has a CD, A very Ayler Christmas!, to put under your Christmas tree. Or better yet, load the CD's music onto your personal music player and defend your ears against offensive noise when going into stores for the rest of the year.
– Brett Delmage
And be sure to listen to our interview with Bernard Stepien, who offers background on the history of the project and Albert Ayler, and shares the groups plans to go carolling with their version of Christmas tunes.
Listen to the podcast [mp3, 15 mins, 11.3 MB]
A very Ayler Christmas CD release concert will take place on Tuesday 14 December at 8 p.m. at the Mercury Lounge.
The group will have an encore performance at IMOO on Sunday, December 19
All photos copyright ©Brett Delmage, 2010. Click a thumbnail for a larger view.
Mike Essoudry's Septet plays Le Petit Chicago on Monday nights this month, with some less frequently-heard instruments. One of them in the back caught our eye, and ear: Marc Decho`s new Tacoma Thunderchief. Marc talked to OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor about his new find, how he converted it to a full bass, and what appeals to him and others about the sound.
Listen to the podcast [mp3, 5 mins, 3 MB]
Linsey Wellman, an Ottawa saxophone/clarinet player well-known for his many projects and wide range of musical interests, was recently interviewed by OttawaJazzScene.ca publisher Brett Delmage. Linsey has just released an album for solo saxophone called Ephemera.
He told OttawaJazzScene.ca how he created the album and what he learned from the experience, and shared some of his thoughts about improvised music and free jazz. He also explained the influences and ideas that went into the album, and the saxophone techniques (such as circular breathing and multiphonics) he used on it. And he talked about how improvised music can simply be enjoyed as music, without having to worry about finding a structure within it.
Linsey will perform a solo presentation of Ephemera at Club SAW on Thursday, November 18.
Listen to the interview [mp3, 44 minutes, 20MB].
A few excerpts from the interview
“A lot of the work was creating an arc between the movements. They are free but they are also guided. It's more of a direction than writing notes down on paper.
“I do find it kind of funny that there's a sense that you have to 'get' improvised music or 'get' free jazz. Free improvised music – it's just music. [...] It's actually quite simple music. It's 1-2-3, Go! And the players who are playing it aren't working from some crazy logarithms or something. They're just playing music.
“I don't want to tell people how to listen to my music because it's up to them. My goal isn't to make complicated music. I like some very complicated music, I have no problem with complicated music, but that's not what I set out to do when I play. I just want to make music that people will listen to, and go, "Oh, yeah".
“Some sections are more taxing than others. Certain sections you just wouldn't want to hear more than 2 1/2 minutes or 2 3/4 minutes And certain sections I feel like I have more to say. But definitely I put a lot of thought into pacing: just being able to pace myself so that I could play the whole thing. Some of the sections that are in there: they're in for musical reasons but they're also partially there so I can rest. [It sounds very demanding to play in places.] It is quite. It's hard. But all of the tracks that made the album, as it turned out, were taken from full performances of the piece.
Ottawa jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon will release her first CD at a concert on Friday, October 1, 2010. OttawaJazzScene.ca Editor Alayne McGregor interviewed her and guitarist René Gely together about the making the album. The interview was a lot of fun for us. We learned many interesting details on how the album came to be and about both of them.
Clearly, Renée and René have a great rapport and had a lot of fun making Let's Call it a Day. After you hear what they have to say in the interview, we think you'll be as eagerly awaiting the concert on Friday as we are, with some insider tips as to what to listen for as a bonus.
Listen to the podcast [mp3, 30 minutes, 14 MB] link updated
View our event listing
Our previous podcast interview with Renée: "a jazz aesthetic is what you make of it"
“I thought that René would be a really great start to the series.
“What drew me to René's playing was his creativeness behind everything... it just blew me away
“The standards have been my vehicle of choice for that art.
“I hope [the audience will] enjoy the instrumentation. I really don't think I've seen a 'two-guitar and vocal' group before.
“I noticed that she was taking lots of chances... and making great music.
“For our first show together... it was a baptism by fire.
“I really wanted the guitar to be a dialogue with the vocalist
“The combination with her vocal approach and my guitar approach clicked from the very beginning.
“...that's the story of that tune!
“This guy [Mike Rud] can really play jazz.
Renée Yoxon graduated with a physics degree and a minor in math and music from Carleton University In January 2010. While she was studying, music was another way to apply her creativity, and an escape from academic demands and drudgery.
Now that she is setting her own schedule, Renée is pursuing her career as a vocalist with a determined passion. She has been singing at as many as six gigs a week recently in a variety of different styles. On top of that, she sits in on other events, and has started a new "StreetJazz" series on YouTube. It's no surprise that Renée's confident and expressive singing has come to the attention of a growing number of listeners, fans, and other jazz musicians.
I recently interviewed Renée about how her music has developed. She shared some interesting personal thoughts on jazz and music, and what music has inspired her.
"I think everyone should be out supporting the [local jazz] scene – so developing it or not, get out!"
"A Jazz aesthetic is what you make of it. [...] I plan to continue to add stuff from modern repertoire in a style that suits us, because we just want to play good music, whether that's standards or whether that's modern tunes.
"Good music for me is a combination of two things: song-writing, so if it's a song that has been written honestly, and then performance. So you could take a great song and play it like garbage, and it's not good music. Or you could take a crappy song and then play it really well and it's not really good music. But if you have a really good song played honestly and truly, then it's good music."
On picking songs for StreetJazz: "Usually the song that will work is the song that's been in my head: the one that's going to work by myself. It's just the song I've been singing all day. So that's why it works, cos it's been in my head all day long. We might have to have a bit more forethought when we start collaborating with more musicians, but the whole point is that it's off-the-cuff and sort of natural, and not too much pre-planning goes into it. So you see a lot of me forgetting the words and us bumping into things as we walk on the streets and it's kind of funny and cute and a really good time."
Listen to the podcast [mp3, 25 minutes, 12 MB]
– Brett Delmage
You can hear Renée Yoxon each Monday evening at Bar 56 in the Byward Market.
Reedman, flautist and composer Richard Page came to Ottawa in 2008 with the Youth Summit at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. Since then he's made Ottawa his home and his presence known. In the past year he's done a lot of playing, and an increasing amount of composing.
Page has taken risks and worked hard to create his own opportunities: he introduced a weekly jazz series to the home of blues and funk, The Rainbow (on Saturday afternoons, yet!) and presented chamber jazz at the Unitarian Church with his A Large View from a Small Window sixteen-piece string ensemble.
He is currently developing an audience at Avant-Garde on his regular Tuesday night shows with his experienced and tight trio, including Matt Aston on drums and Philippe Charbonneau on bass. This month they are also performing on Wednesday nights at Café Nostalgica.
OttawaJazzScene.ca publisher Brett Delmage interviewed Richard Page at Avant-Garde about his music.
Listen to the interview [mp3, 12 minutes, 6 MB].
Theo Bleckmann is a jazz vocalist and composer from New York. He's renowned for forging his own sound, incorporating jazz, ambient and electronic music as well as performance art. In February 2010, he conducted a masterclass at the National Arts Centre, over videoconference. The masterclass was part of the NAC's Manhattan on the Rideau Series. It links leading jazz faculty members of Manhattan School of Music with accomplished music students and musicians, at the NAC.
Three vocalists participated, including Renée Yoxon from Ottawa. They were accompanied by J.P. Allain on piano, Tom Denison on bass, and Don Johnson on drums.
Ottawa Jazz Scene's Brett Delmage interviewed Renée Yoxon and prepared this story about the class.
You can listen to our podcast here (34 MB)