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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Music

Jazzfest: Huey Lewis and the News take Ottawa back in time

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Huey Lewis and the News performing at Jazzfest. All photos by Terry Steeves.Huey Lewis and the News performing at Jazzfest. All photos by Terry Steeves.

Thirty-seven years ago, two San Francisco Bay area rival bands joined forces, and blended their influences of big band jazz with 50’s rock ‘n roll and doo-wop. The result was Huey Lewis and the News, who would go on to carve their definitive sound into 1980’s pop culture, and into our hearts. Wednesday night’s show on the Jazzfest’s Main Stage at Confederation Park brought us back in time to an era of big hair, shoulder pads, MTV, and great dance music. The boys went straight to work to deliver a... | Continue reading article

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Polaris Prize Nominees: B.A. Johnston at Irene’s on Friday

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Photo by Mat Dunlap. All images from B.A. Johnston's website.Photo by Mat Dunlap. All images from B.A. Johnston's website.

This piece is part of a mini-series covering some of the artists nominated for the Polaris Prize, who are playing shows in Ottawa. Hamilton’s B.A. Johnston, the tenaciously-touring troubadour has become a cornerstone of the Canadian music scene in that when he tours this vast nation, he really covers all of it. His live shows are hilarious and his honest tunes endearing.  Before his show tomorrow at Irene’s, we managed to sneak in a little Facebook interview with B.A. to talk about life on the Canadian highways, Canadian festivals, factor... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Classical wizardry meets the freedom of jazz

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Photo of GoGo Penguin by Arlen ConnelyPhoto of GoGo Penguin by Arlen Connely

Let’s play a game of “what if”.  As in: What if Chopin, Miles Davis and DJ Shadow were playing in the same concert?  What would a blend of classical music, jazz and instrumental hip-hop sound like? Luckily for local music lovers, we now have an opportunity to hear what such a magical concert may have been like thanks to GoGo Penguin, who are playing this coming Sunday, June 28 at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage as part of the Ottawa Jazz Festival. This brilliant trio from Manchester, U.K. combine a wide array... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Moon Hooch brings cave music to the Capital

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Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch. All photos by Marina Irick.Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch. All photos by Marina Irick.

From the subways of New York City to the Ottawa After Dark stage in a glowing tent at Jazzfest, “Moon Hooch” – one drum kit and two saxophones – awed an Ottawa crowd on Tuesday night with their unique “cave music” sound, which they describe on their website as wild, jagged, free and natural to live in. The moment the trio stepped on the stage, their chemistry and youthful energy was apparent – the first pound on the drum kit and blasts of the saxophone turned the mellow mood of... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Jamie Cullum will blow you away, too

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Jamie Cullum performing in 2013, photo from his websiteJamie Cullum performing in 2013, photo from his website

This firecracker livened up the British jazz scene upon his arrival in 2003 at the tender age of 24. I will never forget the first time I saw Jamie Cullum perform. It was over a decade ago when I was living in Toronto and a friend of mine who has an ear for cool, up-and-coming musicians, invited me to Jamie’s show at the last minute. It was at a tiny venue, standing room only. And? I was blown away! Jamie’s stage presence and showmanship were phenomenal, equally matched by his sheer... | Continue reading article

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“Moonshine, and train songs, gunfights and gospel tunes”

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Photo courtesy of Murder Murder.Photo courtesy of Murder Murder.

Gloria Song has been performing for over a decade, most recently as a member in Scary Bear Soundtrack, who are performing alongside Murder Murder on June 25, 2015. Hailing from Sudbury, Ontario, Murder Murder guarantees “all murder ballads, all the time.” They aren’t exaggerating: that’s exactly what their music is. Self-described as a “bloodgrass band” – that is, a combination of bluegrass, outlaw country, and exclusively murder ballads – Murder Murder serves up stories of homicide against a surprisingly upbeat toe-tapping soundtrack in a variety of contexts and locations, from... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Low-ridin’ mania with War on the main stage

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War performs on the Main Stage in Confederation Park at Jazzfest 2015. All photos by Terry Steeves.War performs on the Main Stage in Confederation Park at Jazzfest 2015. All photos by Terry Steeves.

It’s funk, it’s jazz, it’s rhythm and blues… blended with lots of Latin grooves and elements of pop, rock, and reggae. The band eventually to be known as War was formed in 1969 and became a collective of 7 musicians. The band’s members came from diverse ethnic backgrounds and would each add their own musical seasonings to create an organic fusion of sound that has always been uniquely theirs. The positively-charged vibe of their music is part of their credo of hope, equality, and friendship. One thing is for sure... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: In conversation with Danielle Allard

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Danielle Allard: photo by Justin van Leeuwen, Body painting by May MazorDanielle Allard: photo by Justin van Leeuwen, Body painting by May Mazor

Ottawa’s young singer/songwriter sensation Danielle Allard has spent her life immersed in music since the age of 3. She began performing publicly at 9, started receiving formal training at 11, and was writing her own songs by age 14. Her studies at Canterbury High School’s Arts Program would further develop her skills in voice and guitar. “My principal in elementary school was finishing his Ph.D. in music at the time, so he was very supportive of the arts. A couple of other teachers jumped onboard and started putting together theatre productions,... | Continue reading article

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Manic Montebello music festival still a rockin’ good time after 10 years

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Photos taken at Rockfest, courtesy of Tobi Cohen.Photos taken at Rockfest, courtesy of Tobi Cohen.

A decade on, Amnesia Rockfest remains a manic mix of music, moshing, misfits and mayhem. Although this year’s line-up wasn’t my particular favourite, it’s the festival’s unique, anything-goes vibe that’s kept me coming back for the last five years. It’s also what has most certainly catapulted the once-tiny, rural Quebec festival onto the must-see international circuit. Let’s just say, I couldn’t be more proud when I spotted Amnesia Rockfest on Rolling Stone’s “Summer 2015 50 Must-See Music Festivals” list in April. Well, after a hot shower, a goodnight’s rest and some reflection, here’s my... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Chris Botti review

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Chris Botti at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, photo by the author.Chris Botti at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, photo by the author.

Chris Botti and his line-up of world-class musicians and special guests completely seduced the crowd on Sunday night’s Main Stage performance in the gorgeous setting of Confederation Park. Botti displayed his mastery of utilizing the trumpet as a tool to add unique shapes to multiple genres of music. His amazing skills of playing and adaptation were immediately demonstrated in his opening tribute to Miles Davis in, “Concierto de Aranjuez”, complete with his signature long sustains that pierced the air. After that, he would step aside numerous times to allow his... | Continue reading article

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