Feature Friday: Jazz MicroFest at GigSpace
GigSpace, an intimate venue just off Preston Street, has been Ottawa’s hub for great jazz music since its launch in 2011. Operated by the owners of Alcorn Music Studios, Marilee Townsend-Alcorn and Mark Alcorn, this venue inspires a wonderful community feel, and is dedicated to providing a creative space for cultivating local music. There’s nothing else like it in Ottawa, and if you love jazz, this is the place you will have to be next weekend. GigSpace is hosting a three-day Jazz MicroFest featuring Ottawa-based jazz musicians on April 28-30, celebrating and showcasing some of our city’s best local talent. Some of these shows are already sold out, and others have only a few tickets left, so don’t wait until the last minute to get yours! Each night features four to six diverse concerts for attendees to choose from, each boasting extraordinary musicianship and varied programs.
GigSpace will also be showcasing their brand new light and sound system financed through their successful fundraising campaign, with which they raised $8000 from the City of Ottawa, a corporate sponsor, and lots of community donations. The kind of community support that GigSpace has received for their initiatives is impressive (they also raised money for a grand piano a couple years ago), and illustrates the value that the venue offers Ottawa music lovers.
The variety of talented ensembles that are showcased in this festival really speak to the gifted and diverse musicians we have in Ottawa. Thanks to GigSpace for bringing these fantastic musicians together under one roof for a weekend that both moldy figs and hep cats will appreciate!
On Saturday night there will be tasting of Sandbanks Estate wines, and the cash bar will be serving Sandbanks wine and Beyond the Pale beer, both of which operate in the Ottawa area. And GigSpace will be selling custom designed limited edition MicroFest glasses, too!
For tickets and more information: gigspaceottawa.com
Friday, April 28
Karen Oxorn Trio
Karen Oxorn’s vocal jazz stylings will be accompanied by Tim Bedner on guitar and Mark Alcorn on Bass. Together they will be performing some favourtite jazz standards. You’ll be sure to hear some Ella Fitzgerald, as not only was the legendary vocalist her musical inspiration, but Oxorn is currently working on a centennial celebration of Fitzgerald’s songbook.
Garry Elliott & Rachel Beausoleil Quartet
Sorry bossa lovers, but this show is already sold out! Rachel Beausoleil has worked hard to bring Brazilian music to the Ottawa music scene, and for this concert she will be singing the compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Beausoleil will be accompanied by Gary Elliott on nylon string guitar, Mark Alcorn on bass, and Marilee Townsend-Alcorn on drums. Beausoleil will also be performing on Saturday with The Juliet Singers.
Modasaurus is an eclectic fusion of funk sensibilities, Latin rhythms, and Middle Eastern accents to form a highly dynamic and exciting jazz quartet. The group largely showcases the compositions of (compelling) pianist James McGowan, and includes hard-working jazz musicians Alex Moxon on guitar, J.P. Lapensée on bass, and Jamie Holmes on drums. Modasaurus is releasing their debut album within the next couple of months, keep an eye out for their release!
Chocolate Hot Pockets
The Chocolate Hot Pockets are an Ottawa late night live music favourite! The band plays the original driving soul-inspired music of their expert trumpeter Ed Lister, as well as new imaginings of well-worn funk, soul, and jazz tunes. Joining Lister on stage is Alex Moxon on guitar, J.P. Lapensée on bass, and Jamie Holmes on drums. CHP just released their second album “The Feast” last October, self described as where “Filthy Funk and Slimey R’n’B shuffles butt heads with fresh Neo Soul and Acid Jazz.” Love!
Saturday, April 29
Adam Saikely Trio
One of the great things about The Adam Saikely Trio is that you’re bound to find out about new music through their music. They give the jazz treatment to hip hop and R&B songs while also performing original compositions and jazz favourites. This versatile and highly improvisatory trio features Adam Saikely on piano, Michel Delage on drums, and Alex Bilodeau on bass. The trio also has a regular month appearance at Bar Robo if you’re interested in seeing more.
Brian Browne and Steve Berndt
The collaboration between Pianist Brian Browne and vocalist Steve Berndt has yielded two albums, both receiving critical acclaim and rotation on CBC’s “Tonic”. Don’t the let pared down ensemble fool you, these two formidable musicians give powerful, exciting renditions of jazz standards and inspired originals.
The Juliet Singers
The Juliet Singers are Elise Letourneau, Rachel Beausoleil, and Lindsey Sikora, and together they perform three or four concerts a year, each focusing on a particular artist’s body of work. On Saturday they’ll be joined by cellist Joan Harrison for a reimagining of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album “Blue.” This performance of Mitchell’s iconic record is arranged for three-part vocal harmony and voice!
J.P. Allain and Vince Rimbach
JP Allain and Vince Rimbach are both well-known performers in jazz circles around these parts. Both competent composers and arrangers, not to mention musicians, Allain’s piano and Rimbach’s saxophone join forces for an hour of jazz standards.
Roddy Ellias and John Geggie
Guitarist Roddy Ellias and bassist John Geggie will perform original compositions and their own creative interpretations of the standards. These two have collaborated with some legendary names in jazz music and both in demand performers.
Sunday, April 30
Doreen Smith & Tim Bedner
Doreen Smith and Tim Bedner have been touring Ottawa together for a few years now, performing at festivals and shows around northeastern Ontario and western quebec. Making appearances Doreen’s vocal stylings capture the spirit of the great American Songbook. Tim Bedner improvises, composes, and is graceful and stylish award-winning guitarist.
Rob Frayne, Martine Courage, Laura Nerenberg & Mike Essoudry
This ensemble promises a new take on your jazz favourites, GigSpace calls their interpretations, “not-so-standard jazz standards.” The quartet consists of Rob Frayne on saxophone and bass, Martine Courage on piano and vocals, Laura Nerenberg on violin, and Mike Essoudry on drums.
Crooked Jazz Trio
Comprised of Carleton University music graduates and now instructors, The Crooked Jazz Trio features Steve Boudreau on piano, Dave Schroeder on bass, and drummer Jeff Asselin. They will be performing jazz standards, but as the name suggests, don’t expect traditional interpretations, this group adds some twists and turns to old favourites. The Crooked jazz Trio will also be showcasing some of their original compositions, of which we’re also expecting an album release any day now!
This root-sy, folk-inspired jazz quartet features rich ensemble arrangements, blending lush sound with touching minimalism. Megan Jerome is a successful musician and songwriter in her own right, and here is joined by skilled stylings of Fred Guignon on pedal steel, Don Cummings on piano, and her husband Mike Essoudry on drums.
Mark Ferguson & Norm Glaude
Mark Ferguson is a proficient trombonist, composer, arranger, and much loved professor at Carleton University, but on Sunday he’ll be sharing his accomplished piano playing. Joined by producer and engineer Norm Glaude on bass, the duo will be performing compositions from Ferguson’s album The Next Chapter, as well as some of their most loved jazz tunes.
Caroline Gibson & Marcie Campbell Quartet
The weekend will wrap up with a much anticipated concert featuring vocalists Caroline Gibson and Marcie Campbell, with Mark Ferguson on piano and Norm Glaude on bass. This is sure to be an upbeat and incredibly fun concert, Gibson and Campbell put on quite the show. Unfortunately, tickets are all sold out, but keep an eye out for these entertaining performers in the future!