Tuesday, 5 July 2011



I will have much more to talk about when it comes to the the highlights of the festival, in the meantime thank you everyone for coming, for playing, for being the audience you are and simply for being a part of this great experience!

We've had incredible turnouts for all the shows, even through torrential downpours we still had healthy diehard audiences. And in the numbers of the biggest crowds, both audiences and artists showed the class, quality and energy that gives the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival it's worldwide reputation as a world-class event, and a contributor to the music scene.

The National Arts Center Studio and Fourth Stage were both packed for just about every show throughout the festival. Audiences enjoyed sometimes two sets of some of the greatest jazz artists today. Some highlights at the Studio included Atomic, Brad Mehldau/Joshua Redman, Kenny Wheeler and Richard Galliano/Gonzalo Rubelcaba - all these were simply magical, beautiful events. These great artists performed in an incredible listening environment walking distance from the main stage so a lot of folks got to enjoy both the main stage show and the Studio show.
The Fourth Stage featured some incredible intimate shows with packed, enthusiastic audiences. I have a hard time mentioning just a few names as I loved a lot of it however some performances stood out. Tania Gill's Quartet was beautiful; Pilc/Moutin/Hoenig were adventurous, fearless and brilliant; and Sisters Euclid were soulful to say the least.

We had two really great shows at The Mercury Lounge, which is a very hip venue in the Market. The two shows were Drumhand and Ilan Bar-Lavi - these provided yet another kind of atmosphere that proved to be unlike anything else.

The Mainstage is of course susceptible to weather and hence audiences vary, however the energy pretty strong all round. Again without naming almost everyone, my personal favorites were Daniel Lanois, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Hugh Masekela and Robert Plant - they all had incredible bands with them, came out to work and gave it their all!

The Great Canadian Series was also packed with talent, some of my favorites included both local bands Brian Brown Trio and The Back-Talk Organ Trio + 1 who showed off some Ottawa talent. Seamus Blake is always Brilliant and the impromptu performance of Laila Biali's rhythm section of Larnell Lewis and George Koller (as she had a nightmare airport experience) was gorgeous. Some very cool young talent on that stage as well including Chet Doxas and Marianne Trudel.

The OLG stage was a total party. If you were up for dancing I'm sure you got your fix there with Soulive, Shad, Elliot Brood and Shooglenifty. Darcy-James Argue had a great Brooklyn-based band with him that sounded great, Jaga Jazzist brought some magic from Europe and the local Peptides did not disappoint - they always have an amazing concept both musically and visually!

Also thanks to all the local musicians who did an incredible job. We have some serious musicians in the area and they all gave it their all to responsive audiences. Among those, ones to mention would be Lucas Haneman, Caridad Cruz, Kelly Craig Sextet, Craig Pederson Quartet, Christine Fagan and Mike Essoudry's Mash Potat Mashers.


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