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Miguel Zenón Quartet. Image courtesy of TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.

Miguel Zenón Quartet headlines Winter Jazz Festival’s 13-show lineup

By Greggory Clark on January 10, 2017

This year’s Winter Jazz Festival takes place at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins for the first time, February 9–12.

Miguel Zenón, a highly-acclaimed alto saxophonist, headlines the festival on Thursday February 9, the festival’s opening night. Zenón is a multiple Grammy Award nominee, and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship – known as the “Genius Grant” – and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Multiple JUNO Award winner, Jane Bunnett – known for her extensive travels and collaboration with Cuban musicians – will be featured by the Miguel De Armas Quartet alongside the talents of Afro Cuban percussionist and vocalist Amado Dedeu Garcia (Saturday Feb. 11, 9pm). Born in Havana, Miguel De Armas calls Ottawa home. For over a decade he toured internationally to perform at top festivals such as North Sea (Rotterdam) and Montreux. His powerful quartet – bassist Marc Decho, drummer Michel Medrano and percussionist Arien Villegas – gig steadily in town and performed nearly one hundred concerts in 2016 alone.

Vancouver guitarist Tony Wilson leads A Day’s Life Band – music inspired by the lives of the homeless and drug addicted in his city’s Downtown Eastside (Thursday Feb. 9, 7pm). The project has been influenced largely by Wilson’s experience living on the streets of the Downtown Eastside during a few particularly difficult months of his life.

Petr Cancura, Jazzfest’s Programming Manager, will appear as a special guest for two performances. On tenor sax with Atlantis Jazz Ensemble (Friday Feb. 10, 8pm) and again when his Prince tribute project The 33z take the stage (Saturday Feb. 11, 6pm). In Vieux-Hull, Atlantis Jazz Ensemble play Monday nights at Le Petit Chicago this month.

12 concerts are being staged at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins, a new venue for the winter festival. Only one concert is off-site, the Bank Street Bonbons perform at the Mercury Lounge (Saturday Feb. 9, 10:30pm).


Single tickets cost $26–40, including taxes, and are available online at ottawajazzfestival.com. Evening passes (three concerts) are $70 from Thursday to Saturday or $45 for both concerts on Sunday.