Ottawa Jazz Festival: Fred Hersch leads winter concert lineup next February

Fred Hersch. Photo: Vincent Soyez

The TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival has announced the lineup for its annual winter concert festival. The event will be held at La Nouvelle Scene on King Edward Avenue from Feb. 8 through Feb 10.

The weekend will feature nine concerts over the three days with a late night free jazz jam session on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival also emailed a fundraising pitch to supporters.

While she didn’t offer specifics, the festival’s executive producer, Catherine O’Grady is quoted as saying the unprecedented rainy weather last June slowed ticket sales.

“In 2017, we faced an unprecedented year with downpours each-and-every single day of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.” She added: “The rain did lead to fewer ticket sales. As a not-for-profit, charitable organization, the festival depends upon revenue earned from ticket sales to pay for new acts and improvements for next summer’s edition.”

Here is the lineup for the 2018 edition of Winter Jazz Fest:

Feb. 8, 2018 (All concerts at La Nouvelle Scene, 333 King Edward Ave.)

Quartetski Does Bartok’s Mikrokosmos.

This ensemble from Montreal was founded in 2007 by Pierre-Yves Martel. The band “rethinks and reinterprets the works of great composers in an improvised setting.” This concert is looking at Bela Bartok’s massive piano exploration Mikrokosmos written between 1926 and 1939. The show is in Studio A at 6 p.m.

Dock In Absolute is a trio of young European musicians … Michel Meis (percussion), David Kintziger (E Bass) and Jean-Philippe Koch (piano and composition) … who have studied at the Berklee College of Music Boston, Codarts University of Arts Rotterdam, Hochschule für Musik Saarbrücken. They are touring around the world on the strength of a new album on the CAM JAZZ label. They are performing in Studio B at 7:30 p.m.

Barbra Lica is a rising young jazz vocalist from Toronto who is gaining a lot of attention across the country. She’s performing in Studio A at 9 p.m.

Feb. 9

Hilario Durán will join the Ottawa Latin Jazz Big Band in concert. Durán has been called one of the best Cuban pianists by Chucho Valdés.  Durán has lived in Canada since 1998 calling Toronto home. He is performing in Studio A at 6 p.m.

Montreal-based vocalist Emma Frank plays in Studio B at 7:30 p.m.

Montreal native, New York resident, saxophone player Chet Doxas blows into town on the strength of his new album Rich in Symbols (Ropeadope). He plays Studio A at 9 p.m.

Feb. 10

Ottawa’s Steve Boudreau  leads his Trio in performance in Studio B at  5 p.m.

The tribute project that is The 33Z will tackle Michael Jackson this winter. Studio A at 6 p.m.

Fred Hersch is considered one of the “the most arrestingly innovative pianist(s) in jazz over the last decade,” according to Vanity Fair magazine. The American is also said to be jazz’s first openly gay, HIV-positive artist whose story is revealed in a memoir Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype/Random House). He closes the concert series in Studio A at 9 p.m.

For tickets and more information:

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.