I was very sad this morning to find out that Ottawa's ambassador for jazz had passed away last night of a stroke. As soon as I heard the news I instantly remembered Jacques kindness, and all my encounters with this great man. I thought I'd share a few thoughts.
I had met Jacques for the first time about 18 years ago when I first started to play around town. Upon our first meeting we had a long and enthusiastic conversation about jazz, where it was going and the great new players on the scene. Even in my youth I remember being in awe of the sheer knowledge, and simply the joy that this man had for the music. It was a way of life! And while his historical grasp of the art form was encyclopedic, Jacques also always looked out for new talent. He gave me my first truly professional gig when I was a part the group Resurrection Quartet with Pierre-Yves Martel, Mike Essoudry and Chris Bartos: giving us a spot on the Great Canadian Series. He called us 'the young lions', and this remains one of the most special shows I've ever done. Since then I've gotten to know Jacques well, and it was a great honor to follow in his footsteps as the Programming Manager of the Ottawa Jazz Festival two years ago. It has been wonderful to continue the momentum that Jacques helped establish for this great festival and community.
Jacques Emond's dedication and love for the art of jazz was infectious, inspiring and everlasting.
Thank you for all you have done for us,
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