TD Jazz Youth Summit and Stingray Rising Stars
Ottawa Jazz Festival
OLG Stage, Confederation Park
Monday, July 1, 2019 – 2 p.m.
They might be forgiven for looking a bit tired. For the past 10 days, the nine student musicians in the TD Jazz Youth Summit had been studying, taking part in masterclasses, and rehearsing for 4½ hours a day, as well as practicing, playing in the late-night jazz jams, and listening intently at concerts. They had played the opening show on the festival's main stage the previous evening, and now were back for a Canada Day show on the second stage.
Chosen by application and audition, they were some of the most promising young jazz players from across the country, including trombonist Nick Adema from Ottawa. They came from British Columbia to Ontario. All were university students: three were studying at the University of Manitoba, with others from the more usual University of Toronto, McGill University, and Humber.
In keeping with the festival's aim this year of celebrating women in jazz, three of the nine were female – the drummer, trumpeter, and baritone saxophonist – and clearly held their own against the male players.
They were directed by Toronto jazz trumpeter and educator Jim Lewis. He told the Canada Day crowd that he had taught more than 150 students in 12 years directing this program, which is supported by the festival and Stingray Music.
Their July 1 show attracted a happy audience who filled almost all the chairs in the large tent and applauded enthusiastically throughout the 45-minute performance. The programme wasn't just standards; as in previous years, the Youth Summit members also contributed their own compositions and arrangements. In fact, there were so many that they had to split the pieces between the two concerts.
The pieces were both ballads and upbeat numbers, each with multiple voices and involving the entire band. These were not simple arrangements, but rather involved musicians playing both in supple unison and energetic alternation, strongly propelled by Alex Argatoff on bass and Tetyana Haraschuk on drums.
I particularly enjoyed Ben Isenstein's composition, “Your Instructions”, which opened with a repeating short horn pattern and featured a raw-edged solo from Anna Blackmore on baritone against Isenstein's vivid and varied keyboards. Annie Lu's “Second” had multiple instruments each expressing their own take on the piece's melody, while Argatoff's “Toast” featured Adema's trombone moving from soft and romantic to swinging, and back again, over lively guitar and keyboards.
The audience greeted the last number – a propulsive and interlaced arrangement of “Inner Urge” with an assured and flowing tenor sax solo from Jacob Do – with strong applause. It was followed by the presentation of awards to the musicians from the festival and from Stingray Music.
- Twos [Jacob Do]
- Second [Annie Lu]
- Your Instructions [Ben Isenstein]
- Toast [Alex Argatoff]
- Cyclic [Eamon Shiel]
- Inner Urge [Joe Henderson, arranged by Jacob Do]
The 2019 TD Youth Summit:
- Jacob Do - tenor saxophone [Edmonton]
- Eamon Sheil - alto saxophone [Winnipeg]
- Anna Blackmore - baritone saxophone [Winnipeg]
- Annie Lu - trumpet [Surrey, BC]
- Nicholas Adema - trombone [Ottawa]
- Adam Cesarone - guitar [Toronto]
- Ben Isenstein - keyboards, piano [Calgary]
- Alex Argatoff - bass [Kelowna]
- Tetyana Haraschuk - drumset [Winnipeg]
Read related stories by OttawaJazzScene.ca: