Hudson Brought the Jazz to Ottawa Jazzfest

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Photo: Mike Bouchard

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A diverse evening of live music was most highlighted by some serious Jazz inside the NAC theatre with Hudson. While the sky threatened to bring on a thunderstorm, the Tartan Stage tent was packed with people. Some curious, some avoiding rain, and likely some existing fans of Lindi Ortega's music. 

Her vocals seemed to draw inspiration from Dolly Parton.  Her full name inlayed within the fretboard of her gorgeous acoustic guitar is a real pro-touch and pretty much declares lifelong ownership and dedication.  It was a sweet set with plenty of country shuffles, some slide guitar leads from her guitarist, and an interesting shout-out to the Tragically Hip with a cover of Boots or Hearts from their second, and career launching album Up to Here.

The main stage was already set with a large audience waiting for Kenny Rogers.  He began slightly behind the officlal 8:30 start time, but opened with an awkward sounding "Ruby Don't Take your Love to Town".  Mostly because it sounded like the volume knob was set to 4 (out of 10), and it turned out the show would continue on low-power setting for the evening.

Kenny performed a crowd-pleasing set and closed out with The Gambler, Islands in the Stream, and Blaze of Glory over montage of images describing his career shared many music and film stars along with some recorded backing vocals of Dolly Parton.

Inside the NAC theatre, John Scofield (guitar wizard) returned with John Medeski (keys), Jack DeJohnette (percussion) and Larry Grenadier (bass) perfoming as Hudson and featuring their debut album Hudson.

This was certainly a treat for jazz fans that united inside for the jaw dropping intimate set as it showed off the multiples of talent gracing the stage.  Hudson features some originals, along with some covers like Castles Made of Sand (Jimi Hendrix), A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan), Woodstock (CSN&Y) and Up on Cripple Creek (The Band).

The late show in the Tartan Homes tent was closed out by the Lemonbucket Orkestra.  A Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk Super Band with at least 15 members on and off-stage.  Their musical party starts with the very first notes and beats and continues on through-out the night as the band joins the crowd, for complete mayhem tuba and all.

Lindi Ortega and Lemonbucket Orkestra - Ottawa Jazzfest

It's interesting to see a night with a full range of musical styles offering opportunities for some to catch another style of music aside from which they initially intended seeing.  This is made possible by the multiple stages, however, conflicting choices like seeing an act inside while another is on the main stage makes it difficult to really see it all.