Ottawa Jazz Festival Inspiration

I have been attending the Ottawa Jazz Festival for over 15 years now, some years more regularly than others, but I haven't missed one since 1996.  This year was almost different- I was hired for an extended tour which closed July 1st.  When the festival offered me two chances to play shows that included my original compositions I had to try and make it work.  Luckily the good people at Troika allowed me to get a replacement for the last ten days.  I felt the shows were a personal success, but not only that, I was reminded of one of the best parts about being home during the Festival.

Some time around the middle of the week, despite the exhaustion of trying to catch as many once-a-year shows as I can, I seem to find more time to practice, and a new direction.  I have similarly experienced this kind of inspiration after trips to New York, or when I lived in Boston and went out on a regular basis to see as much as I could.  I remember discussing how this post-festival summer practice was so rich to my friend, pianist Adam Daudrich, when we were both in school.  "The trick is to keep your summer going into the school year.", he said.

I'd like to put a few thanks out there to those who inspired me specifically this year.  Thanks to Danilo Perez for showing me with both his trio and the Wayne Shorter Quartet that he is always growing and pushing his boundaries as an artist.  Not having heard him in two years was like seeing a beautiful garden after two years without checking in periodically- it's almost like a different place.  Thanks to Jason Moran for an incredible concert showcasing to me something I've seen him talk about in masterclasses: finding the essence of a tune that you connect to, and making that your jumping off point for your version.  His re-compositions of Fats Waller tunes will hopefully be recorded soon.  The other record I'm excited for is The Bad Plus' version of The Rite of Spring (On Sacred Ground).  Their show of all original music in Ottawa was not well attended due to damp weather, but they still impressed with an amazing blend of simple and complex music, and especially great pacing.

Leave a comment

Add comment