When Canadians think of music festivals, we often imagine soaking up the tunes – along with some sun – during the summer months. But the music doesn’t stop when the temperatures drop. It keeps going 365 days a year, and in the case of the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival, from January 31 – February 2, 2013.
2013 marked the second edition of the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival – an event that succeeded at making a notoriously cold city a little bit cooler this winter. For three days, over 2,000 jazz and music fans crowded venues across the city to see a variety of internationally acclaimed jazz artists.
The Festival opened on January 31st with back-to-back sets from Michael Blake's Variety Hour and the Fred Hersch Trio at Dominion-Chalmers United Church. Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen described Hersch as being “in top form, offering music that was by turns thrilling, rollicking, tender, ominous or playful.”
On February 1st, Ottawa's Brian Browne was joined by fellow local jazz icons Dave Laing, Roddy Elias, and Fraser Hollins, on drums, guitar and bass, respectively, to form an Ottawa super group for a sold out, one night performance at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage. Festival goers continued the party well into the night at Mercury Lounge, powered by a smoking hot set from Chicago jazz legend Ernest Dawkins and his New Horizons Trio.
The duo of legendary jazz guitar player Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola headlined a sold out triple-bill at the Fourth Stage on February 2nd, including the John Escreet Trio featuring Tyshawn Sorey, and the Wee Trio's David Bowie project.
February 2nd also saw things get loud on the Ottawa University campus as The Darcys and Pawa Up First rocked Academic Hall. The Darcy’s experimented with cuts from their upcoming album while thrilling the near-capacity crowd with their brand of high-energy art rock.
Pictures of the 2013 Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival are available to view below. The Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival will return again in 2014. Until then, look forward to the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, happening in beautiful downtown Ottawa from June 20 – July 1, 2013.