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Craig Pedersen (trumpet) with Linsey Wellman (alto). photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Craig Pedersen (trumpet) with Linsey Wellman (alto). photo ©Brett Delmage, 2010

It's one of the greyest months of the year, but the Craig Pedersen Quartet is fighting that by warming up Café Nostalgica's November Wednesdays.

At his opening show on November 3, Craig Pedersen's trumpet work alternated and weaved with Linsey Wellman's sounds on alto sax and bass clarinet, before a highly attentive and appreciative audience. Playing originals and a wide ranging selection of pieces from Zorn to Ellington, Pedersen left ample space for Mike Essoudry on drums and Alex Mastronardi on bass to respond, and to express themselves.

The Quartet returns tonight with Phil Charbonneau on bass.

Read our event listing

See more photos after the break:


On Friday November 5, Mike Essoudry's Mash Potato Mashers will release their first CD at Irene's Pub.

Want an advance hint of what it will be like? They previously played Irene's March 19, 2010, and OttawaJazzScene.ca's Brett Delmage was there with a video camera.

If you missed it earlier, be sure to check out our interview with Mike Essoudry about how the Mash Potato Mashers started.

NYC guitarist Vic Juris and Ottawa guitarist Roddy Ellias enthralled an almost-capacity crowd at Café Paradiso Friday night with a program of standards and one original ("Moon" by Ellias). Playing electric guitar with a restrained use of effects, Juris showed off an impressive dynamic and rhythmic range. He and Ellias on acoustic guitar moved over and under each other's lead with ease, supported and listened to each other, and never lost track of the melody.                                                                 

The quiet audience included six well-known local jazz musicians as well as four younger local players, and there was lots of appreciative applause. There was also lots of laughter – particularly at the dueling Antonio Carlos Jobim anecdotes, as well as Paradiso owner Alex Demianenko's recounting of their sound check that afternoon.       

The duo will play again at Paradiso Saturday night and promise some Juris originals on that night. There is a limited number of seats available, and tickets are $20.

Vic Juris and Roddy Ellias ©Brett Delmage 2010
Vic Juris and Roddy Ellias ©Brett Delmage 2010
Richard Page plays his new Phil Barone tenor sax ©BrettDelmage, 2010.
Richard Page plays his new Phil Barone tenor sax ©BrettDelmage, 2010.

For the second and final week, The Richard Page Trio will play Le Petit Chicago tonight, sitting in for Search Engine. This may be your best bet to get your weekly Page Trio fix for a while, as they have suspended their Tuesday night shows at Avant-Garde Bar for now.

It's also an opportunity to hear Richard play his newest horns, a Phil Barone gold plated soprano sax and a brass plated tenor sax. (They sound great)

See our event listing — and see you there!

Richard Page plays his new Phil Barone soprano sax ©BrettDelmage, 2010.
Richard Page plays his new Phil Barone soprano sax ©BrettDelmage, 2010.








John Geggie / Jérôme Sabbagh / Nancy Walker / Ethan Ardelli
Geggie Concert Series 10/11, #1
Saturday, September 18, 2010
National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage

For the last ten years, John Geggie has been mixing up musicians at the NAC Fourth Stage.

He invites jazz artists from Canada, the United States, and occasionally from Europe to play with him, and gives them the opportunity to try playing with new musicians, in different styles, and with new material. It's a risk, but it generally works.

And it can work superbly, as it did in the first concert of his 2010-11 season.

For this concert, Geggie combined tenor saxophonist Jérôme Sabbagh, pianist Nancy Walker, and drummer Ethan Ardelli. Sabbagh has French and  Canadian parentage, was raised in France, and has lived and played in New York City for the last 15 years. Walker and Ardelli are from Toronto; Walker is a long-time collaborator with Geggie (you could almost claim a telepathic link between them). Ardelli has frequently played with Walker; he also played with both Geggie and Walker in the house band for a number of the 2009 Ottawa Jazz Festival jam sessions.

So you had here a very tight rhythm section – plus someone new. But the combination gelled: the way in which all four musicians were able to intertwine their sound spoke to a real flexibility and ability to listen. (This was actually the quartet's second appearance together: they had performed the previous night at Chalkers Pub in Toronto.)

Festival X is Ottawa's Photography Festival. The 2010 edition starts on September 23. To mark the start of Festival X this week, and Culture Days, we present a review of a jazz photography book by longtime Ottawa jazz photographer and jazz fan John R. Fowler.

Renee Rosnes Playing Glen Gould's Steinway - Images of Canadian Jazz by John R. Fowler (book cover) ©John R. Fowler, 2009
Renee Rosnes Playing Glen Gould's Steinway - Images of Canadian Jazz by John R. Fowler (book cover) ©John R. Fowler, 2009
Renee Rosnes Playing Glen (sic) Gould's Steinway - Images of Canadian Jazz
by John R. Fowler, 2009
self-published at blurb.com
Preview and order at www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/626018
reviewed by Brett Delmage

It is perhaps not surprising that as a jazz photojournalist I own and enjoy a collection of jazz photography and written word books. I found early personal inspiration in these books, including the late William Claxton's Jazz Seen.

Jazz Life - A journey for jazz across American in 1960 is the most expensive book of any kind I ever expect to own. Retailing for $300+ (yay for Chapters half-off sales), it's 695 pages of 29 x 41 cm each, a massive 7.8 kg. It's the only book I own that came in a box with a carrying handle.

Heavy. Expensive. Large. Why would anyone want a jazz photography book anyway, now that we can view photos on the Internet for free, on a device that fits in our pocket?

Carleton University Jazz Camp Concert #4
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University

They were serious enough about their music to also have a bit of fun.

Thursday night's concert at the Carleton University Jazz Camp was a mixture of ensembles, composed of the jazz professionals teaching at the camp. Some had played together for years; others had never met before this week. But what they all had in common was a commitment to listen and make good music together.

Kieran Overs (bass) and Alex Dean (sax) perform in the first Carleton University Jazz Camp concert series. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Kieran Overs (bass) and Alex Dean (sax) perform in the first Carleton University Jazz Camp concert series. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
The concert opened with two pieces by Ottawa musicians Mark Ferguson on piano and Mike Tremblay on tenor sax. The two put out their first duo album (Home) last year, and the pieces reflected the style of that album: rough-edged yet soulful, with an emphasis on melody.

They were followed by a trio of veteran Toronto  tenor sax player Alex Dean, veteran Toronto bassist Kieran Overs (double bass), and Ottawa drummer Mike Essoudry. They played two standards, starting with "Purple Gazelle" (aka "Angelica") by Duke Ellington. The bass and drums opened with a syncopated duet, and then Dean entered with the melody. He quickly moved to an energetic improvisation (I could imagine someone jitterbugging to it), then up and down from high notes to growls in a virtuoso set-piece. Overs and Essoudry happily followed along, the bass line in particular echoing the rhythm.

The next song showed similar tight ensemble playing, with Dean starting out with the melody but then deferring to Overs for a bass solo (with occasional filling-in notes on the sax) before returning to the main melody line. All three musicians showed a real understanding of dynamic range, Essoudry deliberately muting his drums in quiet passages.

Alex Dean listens to Brian Browne's solo. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Alex Dean listens to Brian Browne's solo. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Carleton University Jazz Camp Concert #2
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University

Brian Browne demonstrated exactly why standards have had such a long-lasting appeal in jazz, at his Tuesday night concert at the Carleton University Jazz Camp.

Playing with Alex Dean on tenor sax, Kieran Overs on bass, and Mike Essoudry on drums, the Ottawa piano master gave an assured tour through some well-known standards ("Take the A-Train" and "Theme from the Summer of '42") and some lesser-known ("Soul Eyes" by Mal Waldron), to an appreciative audience.

Each song got a thorough consideration: with "Skylark", Dean opened the melody while Browne echoed it underneath, and they continued in a slow, extended style to explore the song's emotional depths. But then both moved to bop, with a strong stride-style piano. The piano and sax alternated, each eventually slowing down to let the other take over before they both roared back to the ending.

Overs provided a delicate, extended bass solo to open "Emily", while Essoudry introduced "A Night in Tunisia" with a restrained yet full drum solo, with interesting echoes. But it was definitely Browne's night. He's a strong, dominant player and set the tone for the night: soulful ballads and syncopated bop pieces, sometimes in  the same song. He began "Georgia on My Mind" by describing it as "simple but not simple" and then produced bell-like piano notes. Dean took over the melody and they collaborated in moving the tempo faster and then slower again.

After a blues encore, Browne dedicated the evening to "all those hot young piano players out there. Herbie, watch your back!"

    – Alayne McGregor

©Brett Delmage, 2010
©Brett Delmage, 2010

For the first time, Café Nostalgica is continuing to run its jazz nights over the summer (except for two weeks' closure at the beginning of August). Steve Berndt (vocals), along with Eric Disero (keys) and Alex Mastronardi (bass), will be there every Wednesday in July trying out new material.

At their opening show, the three saluted the Queen for her intent attention to the music, despite the brutal heat that drove both the band and the rest of the audience out onto the porch to cool down between sets.

Kirk MacDonald listens to Roddy Ellias play. ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Kirk MacDonald listens to Roddy Ellias play. ©Brett Delmage, 2010

The Roddy Ellias Organ Quartet featuring Kirk MacDonald (sax), Daniel Thouin (organ),  and John Fraboni (drums) played an excellent show at Café Paradiso on 2010 May 8. The insistent beat of the organ contrasted and underlined the explorations on sax and guitar. The almost-full restaurant enthusiastically received the music.

The show was the final show in Roddy Ellias' 2010 concert series.

See the original event listing