Aretha Franklin - Ottawa Jazzfest

Aretha Franklin

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There's always one show that puts the Ottawa Jazz Festival to capacity.  The Aretha Franklin Orchestra with special guest Aretha Franklin brought out the largest crowd this year that was compared to Willie Nelson's visit the previous year.  While many people showed up at 4:30 on one of the hottest days of the summer so far, they did have to sit through a good chunk of the show listening to her orchestra.  It's remeniscent of B.B. King's "performance" last year at the Ottawa Bluesfest where his band really did most of the heavy lifting while he only really appeared to hit a very little notes on his guitar.  But Aretha did perform, and quite strongly in contrast while she was taking center stage.

There were many crowd pleasers, but most of the audience remained seated until she sang her motown classic "Respect".  This brought everyone to their feet as it probably always does.  There was a rather long tribute to Whitney Houston with "I Will Always Love You" while a slideshow that seemed to have been put together with images pulled from Google Image search (some domain name watermarks appeared in some of the images), and it included a photo of Whitney with Oprah (twice in the slideshow! really Oprah?).  Later in the show she brought out Bobby McFerrin's daughter, Madison, to perform a song (or two) with her.  He would be playing the following night on the same stage.

Aretha was constantly referred to as the Queen of soul, which must make some wonder where these self entitlements come from.  Apparently this was handed to her from a disc jockey back in 1968 and she's managed to hang on to it.  But what's stopping Kanye West from taking the crown?  He's certainly got the ego for it.

Despite having a little too much instrumental orchestra for a one and a half hour show, it was an excellent show to experience in Confederation park during this year's jazzfest.