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Fred Hersch. Photo courtesy of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

Renowned pianists Fred Hersch and Hilario Durán headline the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival

By Greggory Clark on January 9, 2018



Grammy-nominated pianists are headlining concerts on Friday and Saturday night of the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival (February 8–10).

Fred Hersch, an eight-time Grammy Award nominee, will close festival’s main stage with a solo show on Saturday, February 10 at 9pm. Hersch, now 62 years old, is renowned for his uniquely individual sound, and for teaching notable players such as Bred Mehldau and Ethan Iverson whom were both students in New York City during the late 80s and 90s. Hersch last performed in Ottawa in 2013.

Hilario Durán is one of the world’s foremost Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz pianists. In the late 70s, Durán was chosen to succeed the legendary Chucho Valdės in Cuba’s flagship big band, Orquestra Cubana de Música Moderna. He moved to Canada in 1995, where he has made a name for himself with multiple Juno Award wins and nominations for his contributions to music. He was nominated for a Grammy Award (Best Solo) in 2007.

Durán will join the Ottawa Latin Jazz Big Band on Friday, February 9 at 6pm. The local band includes some of Ottawa’s top talents such as Vince Rimbach (saxophone), Ed Lister (trumpet), and John Geggie (bass).

More Ottawa musicians performing in the seventh annual festival include vocalists Kellylee Evans and Rebecca Noelle, who both feature in a Michael Jackson tribute concert, and pianist Steve Boudreau (who has studied with Fred Hersch) plays in a trio with John Geggie and Michel Delage on February 10.

Post-show jam sessions will take place at 10:30pm in the Bistro at La Nouvelle Scène. Ottawa musicians and touring artists get together for a spontaneous collaborations on Friday and Saturday (February 9–10) until late. Admission is free and any jazz musician is welcome to join.

The lineup:

Feb. 8

  • Quartetski Does Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, 6pm
  • Dock in Absolute, 7:30pm
  • Barbra Lica, 9pm
  • Kelsey Hayes EP Release, 9:30pm
  • Paolo Angeli, 10pm

Feb. 9

  • Hilario Durán & Ottawa Latin Jazz Big Band, 6pm
  • Emma Frank, 7:30pm
  • Chet Doxas, 9pm
  • Jam Session, 10:30pm

Feb. 10

  • Steve Boudreau Trio, 5pm
  • The 33Z Play Michael Jackson, 6pm
  • Heather Cornell & Jesse Stewart, 7:30pm
  • Fred Hersch, 9pm
  • Jam Session, 10:30pm

The 7th annual TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival is running from February 8–10, 2018 at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins (353 King Edward Ave). La Nouvelle Scène is an accessible venue with height adapted facilities. Visit for tickets and passes. Single tickets cost $30 online. Day passes are available for $60 and a full festival pass costs $150.