Every Christmas, Ottawa jazz fans get an extra gift. Ex-pats who've been away studying or performing and developing as musicians in Toronto, Montreal, or the U.S. return to see family, and share their new skills and techniques in jams or their own local shows.
On Thursday, December 17, listeners at the long-running weekly jam at the Options Jazz Lounge at the Brookstreet Hotel received an extra gift of liveliness from several ex-pats. Saxophonists Claire Devlin and Chris Maskell were in from Montreal, and pianist Deniz Lim-Sersan from Toronto.
Joining the host band the HML Trio (Alex Moxon, J.P. Lapensée, and Jamie Holmes), and a good selection of Ottawa-area players, they contributed to several hours of mostly upbeat jazz standards that kept the room swinging.
Devlin and Maskell teamed up on “Tenor Madness”, pushing each other to greater heights, with Lim-Sersan adding bright piano underneath. That song and similar standards inspired a few listeners to get up and dance in the aisles, while Brookstreet owner Sir Terence Matthews cleared extra space in front of the stage for them to dance.
There was a steady stream of musicians on and off the bandstand, playing everything from drums to trumpet to accordion to vocals.
While this was the last Brookstreet jam until January 7 (the next two Thursdays fall on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve), you can hear Maskell and Lim-Sersan playing as a duo in two shows this month, including one with the HML Trio's Alex Moxon. Jazz jams continue at other locations on Mondays and Tuesdays. See OttawaJazzScene.ca's December jazz highlights story and subscribe to our weekly newsletter for details.
– Alayne McGregor