• By: OLM Staff

Jazz Up Your Winter with Dream Lineup

Images supplied by the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.

Jazz music may bring to mind smoky lounges and the rain drenched city streets of Film Noir before you think of snowstorms, -20 weather and ice skating but for the last six years the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival has been adding a different kind of cool to the more frigid months in the capital.

The festival will slip on a new look –a fresh zoot suit, if you will– by moving away from past venues into a single location this year inside the newly rebuilt theatre of La Nouvelle Scène.

“It’s very exciting to explore this new relationship,” says Festival Programming Manager Petr Cancura of the move. “Having the shows at one location with multiple stages provides great convenience for audiences during the winter months, turning the venue into a giant jazz club.”

Performances will take place on two stages in the venue and to be even closer to one of those classic, old jazz clubs of the 30s, the festival will set up Late Night Jams in a Bistro setting complete with food and drink service.

Cancura explains how putting the 2017 festival together was like being asked to compile a list of some of his favourites in the industry today.

Emilie-Claire Barlow
Emilie-Claire Barlow

“We’ve put together a dream lineup for 2017,” continues Cancura, “with diverse and original projects featuring outstanding musicians, a remarkable array of female jazz singers, debut albums as well as JUNO and MacArthur Fellowship award-winning musicians – this year’s Festival offers a vast range of artists and concerts.”

It may indeed be the most diverse Winter Jazz Festival to date. Digging into the performances to come is like sampling a gourmet cake, so many tasty layers to sink your teeth into!

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017
Multiple Grammy award nominated saxophonist Miguel Zenón headlines a night of music that is sure to heat up even the coldest of Ottawa February evenings. His quartet will bring their project Típico to the Studio A stage at 9pm, a recording inspired by a language the group has developed over the last 15 years.

Miguel Zenón headlines Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

Returning to the festival after their Ottawa Life Top 10 Concerts of 2016 performance at the 24-HR Jazz Ramble, local husband and wife duo Mélanie E will bring their jazzy twist to popular French tunes  to Studio B at 9pm. Kicking off the first night will be legendary Canadian guitarist Tony Wilson and his A Day’s Life Band, a slew of musicians that puncture a wide range of the Canadian music landscape today.

“From Jesse Zubot, who plays in Tanya Tagaq’s band, to Peggy Lee, who you might remember from Mary Margaret Ohara’s show, to J.P. Carter, a favorite of Michael Blake, Dan Mangan and Destroyer to name a few… the range of the six musicians coming is outstanding and I can’t believe they’re all available to come at the same time,” beams Cancura.

Tia Brazda

Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
CBC Radio says her smooth vocals “invoke neat glasses of bourbon”. Listening to Tia Brazda (Studio A – 7pm) may just transport you back to a dimly lit, booze dipped Parisian cabaret as she fuses big band and modern swing for a great a jnight of jumping jazz.  Ottawa’s own Atlantis Jazz Ensemble hits the Studio B stage at 8pm with Cancura sitting in on tenor sax. End your evening being transfixed by the JUNO Award winning songstress Emilie-Claire Barlow, moving like silk through the American-Songbook. Her voice is the summer warm caress you’ll be needing this winter night.

Sienna Dahlen's Ice Age Paradise

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017
Cancura and Ed Lister’s tribute project 33z will start things off at 6pm in Studio B.  The first performance for the Winter Jazz Festival will be a musical celebration of Prince with each song being sung by a new singer. After you’ve partied like it’s 1999, you can then stage hop over to Studio A where drummer Harris Eisenstadt will lead his quartet through some jazz improvisation with celebrated sax player Tony Malaby and New Orleans trombonist Jeb Bishop. Expect the unexpected! Afro Cuban fuses with jazz for what may be the highlight of the festival to end the night. Featuring Miguel de Armas, Jane Bunnett and Amado Dedeu Garcia, is the group selected  for this year’s Special Project and just looking at it on paper you get the feeling that this is going to be something amazing!

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017
Still haven’t had your fill? The festival’s final day will include shows by the 9-piece chamber-folk-jazz project Ice Age Paradise. Close your eyes and be swept away by the dreamscape Sienna Dahlen’s voice will lead you through. The festival ends with not one but two of the most renowned sax players in the biz today when Kirk MacDonald and Pat LaBarbera take the stage!

Festival Passes: Full Festival Pass (valid for all shows): $189. Day passes available from $45 – $70. Single ticket prices vary by event. All tickets are available online.