Stretch Orchestra at Ottawa Jazz Festival - 06-27-2013

Kevin Breit, Matt Brubeck - Stretch Orchestra

The Ottawa Jazz Festival has many things happening at the same time which helps people decide to come out even though the main Confederation Park stage has something they might not be interested in.  For example, tonight, the headliner on the main stage was Boz Skaggs.  While he had a solid crowd out to take in his performance, there was another crowd itching for some live music that filled the NAC Fourth Stage to catch Stretch Orchestra.  Their debut 2012 debut album won the Juno for Best Instrumental Album that year. 

The band is made up from three incredible musicians.  Kevin Breit, who played many of the memorable guitar (and other instruments) parts in Norah Jones's earlier and very famous recording (and also received song writing credit for Humble Me) was on guitars and of course serious stand-up comedian worthy M/C work. Those include a couple electrics, an electric mandolin and  what might have been an electric Mandocello.  Since a mandolin and a cello have the same tuning, this instrument had a longer neck than the electric mandolin so the voicing was the same as a cello.  

Jesse Stewart, percussionist and local musician who also sits on the Carleton University faculty of music is one of those guys that every musician looks for when they need a professional.  Filling in the rhythm section was Matt Brubeck on an electrified cello, who Breit described as "one of those Brubecks that only write songs that aren't in 4/4 time".  The cello managed to cover some serious bass when the band decided to funk the fu@k out.  When Breit pulled out the mandocello for their encore, the two played off of each other in a very mesmerizing way.

There isn't really any concrete way to describe how the show was laid out other than to say that it was extremely welcoming, engaging, mindblowing, chills encouraging, improvised, and full of serious energy.  Maybe a video will help.

Since this was another licktastic example of the Ottawa Jazz Festival's side programming, everyone who has a pass for the festival should take a hard look at what happens inside while the "main event" is taking place, also being sure not to neglect the OLG stage at Festival Plaza.