Ottawa Jazzfest - June 24

Kevin Eubanks

Photos: Mike Bouchard

Sunday night's rain didn't completely discourage the throngs at Jazzfest as the grounds were still fairly full, many braving the rain to enjoy a solid lineup. Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra took the stage a little late but were well worth the wait. One of the great things about a big band orchestra (in this case, 5 reeds, 4 trumpeters, 4 trombonists, a piano player, percussion and drummer) is that the music is usually quite danceable and you still get the benefit of solos. O'Farrill's band met that in spades, many of the solos (from all sections) left jaws agape and O'Farrill himself seemed the picture of humbleness and graciousness. Excellent band.

Prism (yet another Dave Holland band, this featuring Kevin Eubanks) was subsequently a bit late coming on but again, well worth the wait. Eubanks, while not shying away from flashiness, interacted well with Holland and tore the roof off at times. Loads of pedigree, the stage oozed talent and improvisational creativity.

Fanny Bloom on the late night OLG stage seemed to be a bit at a loss as to why she was playing Jazzfest when clearly she's more pop or perhaps Québec indie (Frindie?).

The ship steadied itself once again though when the dance-floor filled up with the arrival of the Brazilian band, Forro In the Dark. Latin beats, driving grooves and huge energy made this band very popular and wound things up to close out the weekend.