The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival is in full swing, and while there’s no shortage of phenomenal big-name acts – like, say, Chaka Khan, Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, and Herbie Hancock – there are also great Ottawa acts that are just as deserving of your time. While last week’s Feature Friday gave a rundown of all the free shows at the festival, this week is dedicated to outlining a few of the talented local jazz artists you can catch every day at the Jazz Festival for the next week. We love showing love to our fellow Ottawans, and we hope you make time to get out there and experience everything these folks have to offer:
FRIDAY, JUNE 22
The Bank Street Bonbons
Confederation Park Fountain & Marion Dewar Plaza, 5pm
You’re always in for a good time when this larger-than-life eight-piece brass band takes the stage. Incorporating different musical genres such as jazz, afrobeat and hip hop to create a unique and memorable experience for every listener, The Bank Street Bonbons never fail to dazzle. This particular event is made even more remarkable by the band performing marching band/parade style, meeting up midpoint with the impressive 16-piece instrumental brass band Marsh Dondurma (from Jerusalem, Israel) to form a massive 24-member jam. Where is this magical meeting point, you ask? You’ll just have to follow the band on foot to find out!
You can also catch The Bank Street Bonbons playing at the OLG Ontario Stage at 3pm on Canada Day.
SATURDAY, JUNE 23
Ontario Stage OLG Series, 7:30pm
Los Gringos are Ottawa jazz legends: they’ve performed at Jazz Fest nearly every year since the band formed in the mid-1990s. You can see them making hips shake around town all year round, playing primarily original jazz tunes inspired by the music of Cuba and Brazil. This nine-piece band includes Mark Ferguson on piano, Peter Beaudoin on drums, René Fortier on congas and percussion, Ken Seeley on bass, Nicholas Dyson on trumpet and flugelhorn, Fred Paci on trumpet and flugelhorn, René Lavoie on saxophone and flute, Mike Tremblay on saxophone and flute, and David Arthur on trombone. One of the best thing about seeing this band live is watching how much fun they have playing together — the feeling is contagious! Not to miss this Friday, June 23.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24
Don Ross Louder Than Usual
First Baptist Church, 7pm
Carleton University was lucky enough to snag Don Ross as their artist-residence for the winter of 2018, and he is making another trip back to Ottawa from his home in Halifax to play Ottawa Jazz Festival this week. One of biggest names in fingerstyle guitar, Ross blends jazz, folk, blues, and classical sounds into his own stylistic creations. A formidable acoustic guitar player, he also plays lap steel, electric guitar, harp guitar, among other instruments, including a 9 string guitar — the Kelstone — developed just for him by Belgian instrument inventor Jan Van Kelst. Ross is now on tour with a rolling cast of musicians for a new project called Don Ross Louder Than Usual, in which friends from near and far will join him on stage for a four-piece experience that is different each night. This night Ross will be sharing the stage with Ottawa-born bassist Jordan O’Connor, keyboard and vocalist Andrew Craig, and Portuguese percussionist Marito Marques.
MONDAY, JUNE 25
Tartan Homes Stage – Lisgar Field, 7pm
When it comes to music, FET.NAT definitely march to the beat of their own drum. Keeping listeners on their toes as they weave a mashup of English and French lyrics throughout their music, their brand of experimental jazz mixed with free punk also keep ears constantly perked for the next delightfully unpredictable and invigorating note. This quirky 4-piece from Hull, QC bring their endlessly entertaining sound to the Tartan Homes Stage at Lisgar Field on the Monday of this year’s Jazz Festival.
TUESDAY, JUNE 26
OLG Ontario Stage, 12pm
Take a long lunch on Tuesday, and treat yourself to some amazing jazz covers ranging from the 60’s to present day. 45North showcases some of the great jazz tunes written by Canadian artists of the past and present, including some of their own original compositions. The band features Ralph Hopper on saxophones, Jean Trudel on trumpet/flugelhorn, Paul O’Connor on piano, Ed Stevens on guitar, Paul Soble on bass, and Bill Brown on drums. Come check out this talented sextet and experience some true Canadian jazz.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
Normand Glaude Quartet / Toots’ Suite
Ontario Stage – OLG Ontario Series, 12pm
Normand Glaude has taken up one of the most genre defying instruments: the chromatic harmonica. He will be performing a set dedicated to the great body of work of the late great Toots Thieleman, hence the very clever title for this performance, “Toots’ Suite.” Glaude will be joined on stage by JP Allain (piano), Michel Delage (drums), and Tom Denison (bass). This is a rare opportunity to see some great music, not lost but sometimes forgotten, played live.
THURSDAY, JUNE 28
Tartan Homes Stage @ Lisgar Field, 7:30pm
You can get your fill of Ray Montford’s beautifully melodic and flawlessly executed guitar playing at the festival on Thursday, June 28 while you await the release of his seventh studio album, being released this fall. Joined by Alden Roberge on drums and Russ Boswell on bass, this trio is guaranteed to evoke emotion as they paint vivid mental imagery with their all-instrumental mix of jazz, blues and rock.
FRIDAY, JUNE 29
Top Shelf Main Stage @ Marion Dewar Plaza, 6:30pm
The Commotions are what big band glam is all about: playing original tunes inspired by the great greats of Motown. Bringing funk/soul into the twenty first century with a heavy dose of pop, the eleven-piece band includes a full complement of horns, keys, strings, and percussion, as well as a team of skilled songwriters and two very capable lead vocalists. The Commotions do soul in a big way, and they do it well.
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
Mack & Ben
OLG Ontario Stage, 7:30pm
Brother/sister duo Mackenzie and Ben Di Millo have taken a life-long musical partnership and parlayed their talents to form this sibling-fronted group. Their songs — neo-soul mixed with indie pop — are brought to life on stage with a crew of equally talented musicians: Clayton Connell (piano), Stephen Adubofuor (drums), J.P. Lapensee (bass), Sarah Bradley (vocals), and Noah James (vocals). The group features lots of layered vocal work, tight grooves, and inspired solos. Absolutely a must-see.