There is something exciting about all this hot jazz (pardon the pun) in this cold weather. On a normal day this time of year you might wake up, and just try to get through the day... through the cold... through the grey. But music reminds us all that we are alive, we are part of something bigger. This music, this festival is for our big lives, our dreams... for our inspiration!
Here is a brief run down of the Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest
Thursday Jan 31
7:15pm Michael Blake's Variety Hour @ DC ChalmersMichael Blake, one of my favorite Tenor players around! The time feel; the sound; the soulfulness yet with a fresh approach. This is a great group led by this Canadian raised New Yorker and featuring a great drummer who rarely makes it to the eats coast Dylan van der Shyff.
9pm Fred Hersch Trio @ DC ChalmersFred Hersch, the brilliant pianist never ceases to amaze... and what a life story of struggle and survival - I always feel like he is close to the music. This is not to be missed!!!
Friday Feb 1st
5pm Miguel Des Armas Latin Jazz Quartet @ NAC's Fourth StageMiguel is a recent addition to the Ottawa scene, transplanted straight from Cuba. Miguel has played with the who is who all over the world and we are extremely lucky to have him!
7pm Nick Fraser Quartet ft. Tony Malaby @ NAC's Fourth StageIf you've been to the festival jam sessions then you'll know this unbelievable drummer. He is one of the go to drummers in Toronto for all creative and driving projects. I am very excited he is bringing New York's Tony Malaby, an incredible tenor player who has played with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian just to name a couple.
9pm Brian Browne Quartet ft. Roddy Ellias, Fraser Hollins and Dave Laing @ NAC's Fourth StageThe pride of Ottawa, a legend in his own pianist Brian Browne leads this very special project featuring Roddy Ellias on guitar and Montreal's one and only Fraser Hollins on bass and Dave Laing on drums. It's not every day you get to hear Brian with a stellar cast like this.
10:30pm Ernest Dawkins New Horizon Trio @ Mercury LoungeFresh from New York's Winter Jazz Fest a couple of weeks ago, Ernest Dawkins is a Chicago legend. He is a big part of jazz history and playing stronger than ever!
Saturday Feb 2nd
5pm The Wee Trio @ NAC's Fourth StageIf you haven't heard of these guys... you might want to look again. They are raising up a storm all across the continent. This power trio's latest project tackles the music of the great David Bowie. You will not be disappointed with these guys.
7pm John Escreet Trio ft. Tyshawn Sorey @ NAC's Fourth StageJohn Escreet is a silent force on the New York scene. He is often hear playing with david Binney, Adam Rogers, Robin Eubanks, Donny McCaslin and of course this group with this brilliant drummer Tyshawn Sorrey. Perfect pitch, photographic memory and a hunger for all styles and traditions... Tyshawn is a true genius!
9pm Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo @ NAC's Fourth StageI saw Charlie Hunter in a dive bar in Brooklyn, where he did a week long residency and every night was packed. I felt all warm and cosy - simply from all the grooves Charlie was mustering up. I could listen to him for hours and I am really looking forward to this one!
9pm Pawa Up First @ Academic Hall, U of OTheir sound fresh and they are strong musicians. pretty much a sure equation. These guys are from Montreal bringing a mix of all kinds of styles of music from hip hop to electro jazz and atmospheric sounds!
10:30pm The Darcys @ Academic Hall, U of OWhat better way to end the Winter Jazz Fest than with a party. This Toronto art rock band is nothing but fun!
For full details and tickets check out the Winter Jazz Festival website