Listeners made themselves comfortable to enjoy the hour-long Porchfest concert by vocalist and host Gerri Trimble, guitarist Rob Martin, and trumpeter Charley Gordon ©Brett Delmage, 2017
Listeners made themselves comfortable to enjoy the hour-long Ottawa Porchfest concert by vocalist and host Gerri Trimble, guitarist Rob Martin, and trumpeter Charley Gordon ©Brett Delmage, 2017

Gerri Trimble, Rob Martin, Charley Gordon
Ottawa Porchfest
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – 4 p.m.

Jazz vocalist Gerri Trimble didn't have to go far for her latest gig – it was on her own porch!

Trimble, along with guitarist Rob Martin and trumpeter Charley Gordon, provided a jazz angle on the free Porchfest festival in Hintonburg on Saturday afternoon. The festival, now in its third year, showcases local musicians on volunteered porches and businesses; it promotes the idea that “local artists have a great silent talent”.

The trio attracted more than 30 music fans for their hour-long performance, including ward councillor Jeff Leiper (a sponsor of the festival), and several parents with small children. Even after the trio started playing, listeners continued to arrive by bike and on foot.

Some sat in the chairs that Trimble provided; others perched on the sidewalk on both sides of Armstrong Street. The residential street was still open to cars, but most motorists slowed down enough not to drown out the music, or waited until the end of a song to pass. (The event evoked images of the very first Ottawa Jazz Festivals on the summer stage outside the NAC. Motor vehicles on Freiman Lane would have to drive between the audience and the stage.)

The vibe was surprisingly intimate for an outdoor show. The trio opened with two quiet numbers – the evocative “No Moon at All”, followed by the sweet Brazilian rhythms of “Wave” – and there was no problem hearing the music because the crowd was there to listen. Aside from the occasional car, the only ambient sounds were leaves rustling, the distant sounds of some children playing, some runners padding by, and gravel crunching under cyclists' tires.

The trio also included upbeat numbers – “Love Me or Leave Me”, “Up Jumped Spring”, “Second Time Around”, “I'm Just a Lucky So-and-so” – whose swinging rhythms were enhanced by scatting and accented trumpet and guitar solos. Trimble described their selections as jazz standards, “standardy-standard and a few on the weirder side”. The pieces were well-played and well-written, but not all well-known.

Highlights included the unromantic ballad, “Forgetful”, with Trimble singing the sardonic lyrics in a conversational style that made their point clear – and a contrast to Gordon's tender flugelhorn solo and Martin's pointillist guitar solo; the haunting “Moon and Sand”, with a smooth and subtle trumpet line; and “This is Always”, with trumpet and vocals combining in a flowing and delicate rendition.

They closed with a vibrant vocal version of Charlie Parker's “Confirmation”, with Trimble practically spitting out the lyrics to keep up with the double-speed instrumental lines.

All three musicians are well-known on the local jazz scene. They had an easy familiarity, from many times playing together in local restaurants, in concerts, and at local jam sessions. That made this show highly enjoyable, even for those less familiar for jazz, and gained them enthusiastic applause throughout.

Set List

  • No Moon at All (David Mann)
  • Wave (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  • Love Me or Leave Me (Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn)
  • Since I Fell for You (Buddy Johnson)
  • Up Jumped Spring (Freddie Hubbard)
  • Moon and Sand (Alec Wilder)
  • Second Time Around (Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn)
  • Forgetful (Tadd Dameron)
  • I'm Just a Lucky So-and-so (Duke Ellington/Mack David)
  • This is Always (Harry Warren)
  • Confirmation (Charlie Parker)

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