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Rachel Therrien develops a new sound from her trumpet mute at IMOO.   ©Brett Delmage, 2012
Rachel Therrien develops a new sound from her trumpet mute at IMOO. ©Brett Delmage, 2012

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Montreal trumpeter Rachel Therrien and Ottawa vocalist and IMOO co-coordinator Renée Yoxon first met and played together at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music this spring.

So when Therrien was invited to bring her quintet to the Festival de Jazz Desjardins in Aylmer this Saturday, it was natural for her to stay over an extra day and play at IMOO (Improvising Musicians of Ottawa/Outaouais)  – but in a very different, free jazz style from Saturday.

The IMOO performance also featured bassist Marino Vazquez, who was visiting from Mexico and had just recently met Therrien in Montreal. Besides bass, he sang and played percussion and the traditional small Mexican guitar.

The first set started with a completely improvised piece featuring Therrien on trumpet and Vazquez on percussion (including crumpled newspaper and flipped notebook). It was followed by a free jazz piece ("The Seven Movements of a Day's Journey") which Therrien had composed eight years but had never played publicly, which used muted trumpet to produce sounds that ranged from breathy to klaxon, with added vocalese.

Renée Yoxon joined in for the second set, for her very first totally improvised jazz performance. In the first piece, while Yoxon sang improvised wordless vocalese, Therrien sang through her trumpet mute. They ended with a piece which Therrien had composed at Banff: "A Mountain", with a graphic rather than a traditional score. At Banff, it was played by 13 musicians, including four vocalists but no trumpet: here it was interpreted on voice, trumpet, percussion, and bass.

At the end, the musicians continued a new IMOO tradition: a short question and answer session where they explained their backgrounds, the graphic score they used, and some of the pieces they had performed.

Therrien was nominated for the TD Grand Jazz Award and the Galaxie Rising Star Award at this year's Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, and her quintet played an evening concert on one of the festival's main outdoor stages.

    – Alayne McGregor

Ottawa Saxophone Camp Concert
Ottawa Saxophone Camp Concert

Monday's Saxophone Camp concert, with guest artists Mike Murley (sax) and Ian Froman (drums), attracted a packed and enthusiastic house, ending in a standing ovation. The group, which also included organizer Mike Tremblay (sax), Mark Ferguson (piano), and Tom McMahon (bass), played originals by Murley, Tremblay, and Ferguson, as well as standards. A highlight was a sax-only duet between Murley and Tremblay in which Stella by Starlight got thoroughly shaken out and bumped around, but ultimately celebrated.  Photo © Brett Delmage.

Maria Schneider does textures and patterns and the full range of possibilities that 18 musicians can provide. The result -- although she uses almost the same pattern of instruments as a standard big band -- is about as far from standard as you can imagine. Do not think the Boss Brass or Louis Armstrong: think Carla Bley and Darcy James Argue. Or maybe she's just sui generis.

No one can deny Julian Lage's facility on the guitar. He can make that instrument laugh or weep or call out stridently -- or bop along. But what really made his short appearance Monday night in Confederation Park special was the originality of his group's instruments and material.

Montreal pianist Josh Rager, who brought his trio to Cafe Paradiso in November, appeared at a much larger venue and with three more musicians as the first main stage act Monday at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival.

While his piano still drove the action on-stage, he was well-matched by Frank Lozano on tenor sax, Al McLean on alto, Jean-Nicolas Trottier on trombone, Dave Laing on drums, and Dave Watts on bass. They added the extra bounce and brilliance needed to push the music across the park. In originals like "Indian Summer", Watt's bass added an extra level of urgency; in the standard "I'm old-fashioned", Lozano's tenor was smooth and assured after a bouncier solo by McLean.