The 2017 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival poster has appeared on the official instagram feed, and it offers a nice round-up of this year's acts. While the image clearly shows Kenny Rogers and also Hudson (John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski), it won't warn you that both acts have conflicting times on June 24th. So you must choose to either get Kenny off of your bucket list, or have your mind blown by Hudson in the NAC theatre. Fateful choices.
Nestled in the heart of beautiful downtown Ottawa, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival - runs from June 22 to July 2 - attracts hundreds of thousands to hear some of the jazz world’s most renowned and celebrated musicians. There is something for everyone throughout the 11-day event with performances day and night in the most idyllic indoor and outdoor settings.
Starts: 6:00 pm | Thursday, June 22
Ends: 10:30 pm | Sunday, July 2
Featured artists: Feist, Serena Ryder, Joss Stone, Caravan Palace, Mavis Staples, Jacob Collier, Robert Glasper Experiment, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Pierre Kwenders, Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Maceo Parker & The Ray Charles Orchestra, Hannah Georgas, Kandace Springs, The Bad Plus, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra featuring Carla Bley
Check out OttawaJazz social media feeds below.
On-sale date(s) include a 1-Day pre-sale: Thursday, February 23 at 10 a.m. (Ends at midnight.)
Tickets available: Youth Festival Wristband, Adult Festival Pass, Club VIP Pass. (Parking and Extras will also be available as add-ons.)
General On-sale: Friday, February 24 at 10 a.m. All ticket-types available, including day passes, Pick-3 passes, 'Kickoff' (July 6-9) and 'Homestretch' (July 13-16) weekend passes, Metropolitain VIP Zone, etc. See ottawabluesfest.ca for more details.
Brian Wilson's performance of the epic masterpiece Pet Sounds at Ottawa Jazz Festival didn't open with "Wouldn't it Be Nice" or close with "Good Vibrations" (a song that could have been on the album but is a literal finale to that album's period), it actually opened with "Heroes and Villains" and closed with a strong melody of Beach Boys' early stuff like "Help Me Rhonda" and "Surfin USA".
Pet Sounds is an incredible album and performing it live with the true arrangement wouldn't be possible, but it would be nice. Out of the 10 backing musicians on stage, there were at least 20 or so instruments between each multi-instrumentalist that could setup an infinite amount of permutations. And they formed the perfect assignments for each track covered with players swapping from horn to guitar, or timpani to marimba depending on the essential demand. It was tight.
Al Jardine's son also provided some familiarly vocal sound to the mix. Brian didn't sing lead much, but he never did on the original recordings as he wrote songs like "God Only Knows" with his brother Carl's voice in mind. But he lead that solidly, and the outcome corresponded perfectly with the song imprinted in the mind with counterpoint in other tracks, both vocal and instrumental, like "Sloop John B" being simply precise.
Pet Sounds is a gorgeous composition but it doesn't inherently encourage dancing, so the centre mass of audience members in lawn chairs would not be pulled out until the encore (after a freaking killer display of "Good Vibrations"). The MC for the band introduced each member, as they returned to the stage and played a different entrance bit for each (kinda like how Paul Shcaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band would welcome a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman). Finally Brian and Al returned to sort through some Beach Boys Classics. That's the moment when the lawnchairs were dismissed.
Sharon Jones came riding a wave of anticipatory excitement as she strolled on stage at the Ottawa Jazzfest, but not before her backing band The Dap Kings were first allowed to warm up with a few songs. Almost immediately the Dap Kings filled the grounds with fantastic 70's-feel soul grooves. This band can stop on a dime and appears to be led through the optics offered by their bass player, Bosco Mann and the man he most certainly was. He held that pocket much like Donald Duck Dunn would in his heyday. I kept watching the fingers he would count out and the signs he would flash at the guitar players or the horn section but I could never figure out what he was conveying. I suppose I should give props to whoever the Blue Jays employ as their sign stealer.
By the 4th song I was completely enamoured with the Dap Kings. The 4th song brought more of that deep groove soul and becamea crowd clap along that slowly snaked it's way into something that could have been performed at a Marvin Gaye dance party. For a moment I forgot Sharon Jones was even going to come out but she eventually did to a wonderfully spoken intro from Binky Griptite during rapturous applause from a focused audience. I wouldnt be surprised if anyone told me they felt like they were in the church scene from the Blues Brothers movie with pastor James Brown speaking to the congregation from the alter.
If You Call showcased Sharon Jones legendary status while proving not even chemo treatments were going to slow her down. The energy her and the Dap Kings created just seemed to build as the set progressed and culminated in a jam that focused on her introducing each member of her band who then would be offered a short solo. She certainly seems to love performing in front of them and who could blame her? This is a total powerhouse group. Towards the call for the encore Sharon had briefly left the stage and Binky again interacted with the crowd egging everyone on to offer more love through yells and applause which was certainly palpable even though this was one of the smaller crowds I have ever been a part of at Jazzfest.
"Ottawa, you just got your ass kicked by a 60 year old cancer patient. How does that make you feel?"