Ottawa loves Trad Jazz
There are some cities you visit in which
you couldn't find good traditional jazz no matter how hard you looked.
The Royal Oak (Kanata) gigs on Sunday have become an institution. The
bands rotate there, and you can catch the Magnolia Jazz Band or the
Apex Jazz Band in the late afternoon. Both of these bands have proven
their worth with large fan bases across the city and beyond. You can
always be assured of a relaxing and fun afternoon of jazz with these
bands at the helm. Happy Jazz. Gotta love it!
Cafe Paradiso and The Social
Both of these downtown clubs are making
a concerted effort to present jazz in an enjoyable atmosphere. At
Paradiso, musicians like pianist Gerry Shatford, bassist John Geggie
and friends have been presenting an interesting and varied program of
music. At the Social, trumpeter Kelly Craig has been holding forth as
well as vocalist Tanya O'Day and the wonderful pianist Brian Browne.
Support them when you can.
The North Harlem Rennaisance
remembers a comparitively recent golden time on the Ottawa jazz scene,
in the mid-90's, when there seemed to be a healthy number of talented
young musicians coming up. Ottawa people like guitarist Justin Haynes,
drummer Nick Fraser, pianists Josh LaTour and Josh Rager, bassist
Jordan O'Connor, vocalist Tena Palmer and saxophonist Kenji Omae and
others made us sit up and take notice.
For anyone on the scene
at the time, it was so enjoyable. We knew inside that these talented
individuals would someday leave us to find greener pastures beyond our
fair little city, but we salved ourselves with the contention that
there would be others coming up to take their place.
Yes, there were some.
But, things change. Perhaps in some way owing to the closing of several
local clubs in the period following, it seemed bleak.
After having a good long
look at the scene over the last 6 months, I can safely state that the
ice-age is over. Not only has the club scene improved (which is
somewhat due to acknowledging practical limitations) but there seems to
be a fascinating crop of young players making their mark right here
under our noses.
To mention just a few;
Pierre-Yves Martel, bassist -
We've warned you about this guy before.
When you see someone that embellishes his natural instincts for music
with a good solid training in classical technique, you have to respect
it. That seems almost a cold, calculating description for someone whose
playing is so moving... check him out if you have the chance.
Steve Boudreau, pianist, et al
Anyone who modestly describes himself as
simply a "musician" on his calling card has to peak your interest.
Truer word(s) were never spoken. Also working as a bassist and
trumpeter around town, Steve is an exceptional musician. Dig it.
Nathan Cepelinski, saxophonist
Nathan is probably tired of everyone
pointing out that he's 15 years old, but he's been raising eyebrows
anywhere he's played. It's somewhat mind-boggling to conceive how
anyone has absorbed the concepts that he plays.. so you'll have to go
and dig it for yourself to understand. To quote pianist John Steele
following a recent duo gig with Nathan:
"That was nostalgic... I haven't been beat up by a 15
year-old since Grade 7".
There are many others too, who hopefully
we'll have opportunity to mention in the column.
To close, I'd reiterate that I could name lots of times that the scene
was worse than it is now. Maybe this is the rennaisance. Take the
opportunity to support the clubs that try to fit jazz into their
schedule. You'll find complete listings in our Events Calendar.
Someday you can say:
"Yeah, I was there when that happened"