[members-announce] OttawaJazzScene.ca celebrates first successful year and strong local jazz scene

Brett Delmage Brett.Delmage at OttawaJazzScene.ca
Thu Jul 8 18:04:03 EDT 2010

For immediate release: 2010 July 7

Jazz website celebrates first successful year:
The festival is over but OttawaJazzScene.ca shows
the Ottawa-Gatineau jazz scene is vibrant all year long

“Ottawa-Gatineau's live jazz and improvised music scene is vibrant and has 
something to offer listeners every week of the year, not just for 11 days 
during the Ottawa International Jazz Festival,” says Brett Delmage, publisher 
of OttawaJazzScene.ca .

OttawaJazzScene.ca celebrated its first anniversary on July 3. The website is a 
comprehensive and authoritative resource for local jazz and improvised-music 
events, listing well over 1000 events in its first 12 months. As well, it 
published over 100 previews, musician interviews, photo sets, podcasts, and 
reviews in that time.

“I launched OttawaJazzScene.ca during the Ottawa Jazz Festival last year to 
inform the thousands of festival-goers about the incredible talent playing jazz 
every week in our local restaurants, clubs and halls,” said Delmage. “The 
website is for jazz listeners: to let them know about and enjoy the great music 
which others and I were enjoying all year long.”

“I wanted to put Ottawa on the jazz map.” In fact, he said, he has received 
inquiries from visiting jazz fans about what clubs to try when they're in town.

The local jazz scene is as broad as it is deep. Musicians of all ages are 
making the scene. Vocalist Renée Yoxon, just 22, and a recent graduate of 
Carleton University, sings blues and jazz every Monday night at Bar 56 and has 
led groups in numerous other venues. Hugh O'Connor, who has lived and played in 
Ottawa for 50 years and who still plays every Sunday afternoon at Chez Lucien, 
made and released his first CD in April at age 81.

And the scene is no longer confined to a few restaurants and clubs in downtown 
Ottawa. Latin band “Los Gringos” reunited to play again last fall and filled a 
large pub in Barrhaven - on two Sunday nights several months apart! The scene 
has expanded to Gatineau, where an increasing number of pubs and restaurants 
started regularly featuring jazz this year OttawaJazzScene.ca normally has 
listings for venues from Moose Creek to Carleton Place, and from Chelsea to 

Nor is it limited to vocalists singing standards, or jazz combos playing bebop. 
Saxophonist, accordionist and CKCU radio host Bernard Stepien and others 
presented a highly energized, avant-garde “Christmas” music show on December 
23. Carleton University music professor, composer and percussionist Jesse 
Stewart opened Winterlude with a quartet playing instruments made of ice; he 
also played a totally improvised performance with renowned Canadian artist 
Michael Snow at the National Gallery on March 18. Just before Easter, the 
Impressions in Jazz Orchestra (IJO) and Capital Vox choir almost filled 
Dominion-Chalmers Church (and definitely filled the stage) with 50 musicians 
presenting Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts. Drummer Mike Essoudry started a 
marching band this winter, where the musicians parade as they play his mash-up 
of jazz and world music.

Jazz musicians have played to full houses in the NAC's Fourth Stage repeatedly 
in the past year: local jazz musicians launching CDs, a tribute to vocalist 
Blossom Dearie, jazz interpretations of Paul Simon's music, “extreme makeovers” 
of pop hits into jazz - even jazz for New Year's Eve.

The number of jazz music series and audience interest in them has grown. Ottawa 
guitarist Roddy Ellias, presented his second season of guitar duos and larger 
groups in a variety of styles at Café Paradiso, which itself has been 
presenting live jazz by local and touring artists for a dozen years. Bassist 
John Geggie brought in renowned guest musicians from outside Ottawa to play at 
the NAC's Fourth Stage, frequently to full audiences, in the ninth year of his 
series. The Capital Vox jazz choir is in its fourth year of singing challenging 
jazz vocal music. IJO is about to announce its sixth winter season; this year, 
three of its concerts recreated music by Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington, 
while a fourth was completely improvised, with the audience choosing what would 
be played.

The Jazz Festival has increased the number of concerts in its own fall-winter 
series over the last few years, and included accomplished local artists such as 
drummer/composer Mike Essoudry and his Octet, and percussionist/trombonist Rory 
Magill and his Rake-Star Project

With each of these planning artistically exciting 2010-11 series, audiences can 
look forward to 15-20 excellent shows from the series presenters alone.

“There is a lot of jazz going on,” said OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne 
McGregor. “On a few occasions, we've had to ask musicians where they were 
really playing – we noticed they were double-booked before they did.” As well 
as writing feature interviews and reviews, McGregor maintains 
OttawaJazzScene.ca's comprehensive schedule of jazz-related events.

Café Nostalgica, at the University of Ottawa, presents jazz every Wednesday 
night from fall through spring. Summer is normally a quieter time with most 
students away so they shut down musically. But this summer, they are continuing 
their regular Wednesday jazz nights, starting with long-time Ottawa vocalist 
and trombonist Steve Berndt.

“It can be a tough choice. Some nights, one has to choose from six shows, or 
try to catch some of a few excellent shows ” says McGregor. “There are 
currently 114 listings from now until next May in our upcoming events calendar 
– and this is the _quiet_ time of the jazz year.”

In addition to live performances, there is also a growing interest in jazz 
education and personal participation. JazzWorks, which holds monthly jam 
sessions for local jazz musicians and has run a premiere summer 'jazz camp' for 
amateur musicians for 17 years, is joined by a new jazz camp at Carleton 
University for this year, led by local saxophonist / improviser Mike Tremblay. 
Last fall, jazz guitarist Tim Bedner started a mentoring series, partnering 
young jazz players with local jazz masters at Café Paradiso, which attracted 
both lots of participants and a good audience. The National Arts Centre's 
“Manhattan on the Rideau” jazz masterclasses have attracted a number of local 
musicians to participate with top-notch NYC musicians, and even more local jazz 
fans to watch.

There is no doubt that the jazz scene gets a bit less intense at the end of the 
Jazz Festival, McGregor said.  “But there will be up to 354 days filled with 
incredible, live, local jazz and improvised music before the 2011 Festival 

OttawaJazzScene.ca editor Alayne McGregor is a software designer and 
journalist, who has also written jazz reviews for AllAboutJazz.com. Since 1989, 
she has volunteered at the Ottawa Jazz Festival selling T-shirts and other 
souvenirs. In the last 25 years, she has heard some of the world's best jazz 
artists at festivals, concerts, and clubs in Montreal, Toronto, Guelph, and New 
York – and here in Ottawa.

OttawaJazzScene.ca publisher Brett Delmage is a member of the Jazz Journalists 
Association, and has been listening to thousands of jazz recordings and live 
gigs for more than 25 years. He was an Ottawa Jazz Festival volunteer for 19 
years. A software developer for 25 years, he has photographed jazz for 10 years 
and has exhibited prints at the National Press Club and Ottawa Public Library. 
For the past four seasons, he was the official photographer for Impressions in 
Jazz Orchestra ( photos.impressionsinjazz.ca ). Prior to creating 
OttawaJazzScene.ca, he was editor of a weekly jazz email newsletter.

For more information:

Alayne McGregor
Editor, OttawaJazzScene.ca
editor at OttawaJazzScene.ca

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