JazzWorks has added four people to the board of directors — Peggy Cameron, Mary Moore, Marylise Chauvette and Ian Schwartz. That would be two singers, a piano player and an alto sax guy, but people with impressive non-musical resumés as well. They join me, Lauren Walker, John Graham, Dave Finlayson and Ira Abrams on the board.
As always, the organization faces challenges in both the programming and financial areas. Added to that is the task of adjusting to new legislation pertaining to not-for-profit organizations. Still, the past year has been a good one, with a great camp and some good workshops, and there are some interesting programming initiatives on the horizon.
One of the reasons for our success in 2013 was the contribution of two board members, Margaret Dalziel and Janet Hofstetter, both of whom have recently left the board. Margaret, who has moved to Waterloo, was a driving force in the fundraising area as well as helping to develop the concept of Friends of JazzWorks. With Janet, Margaret introduced the idea of Sunday afternoon jam sessions. Since Margaret’s departure, Janet has been the prime mover in keeping the Sunday jams going — that involves finding host bands, liaising with the Carleton Tavern people and organizing a network of set-up wizards who get the sound and light system operating.
The Sunday jams, less well-attended than the third-Thursday ones, are developing a steady clientele. So far, Sundays have been great fun, with more opportunities to play and a better chance to be heard. Come out on Sunday, Dec. 1, on 2 p.m. and hear the host band, Satin Jazz, which features Len, bass, Jaime Posen, piano, Dave Finlayson, drums, Alf Warnock, guitar and David Glover, alto sax.
While you’re there, say hi to Janet and thanks for helping to make it possible.
Some thoughts on being an audience
I was out at Brookstreet the other night, listening to my friend Peter Hum at the Options Jazz Lounge. The Ottawa pianist had an intriguing band, a sextet composed for the most part of musicians with whom he had performed in a Montreal band in the 1980s. Among the tunes they played were many of the compositions featured by that band. To me, they sounded as fresh as when they were new.
The sextet featured three horns and rhythm section — the horns being alto, tenor and trombone. When they cranked it up they made a mighty noise, with some great voicings that I was told were largely Hum’s creation.
The two thoughts I had when listening to the band were, first, how rare was the opportunity in Ottawa to hear a band with that many horns. Aside from the Fourth Stage and perhaps GigSpace, most local venues feature duos or solo acts. They don’t want drums, much less horns. So wouldn’t it be great if Brookstreet or some other venue could provide a regular showcase for larger groups.
My second thought was: if there were such a space, would Ottawa support it? Hum’s concert was well-attended, with lots of family and friends of the musicians, several of whom have Ottawa roots. But, as I always do at such events, I looked around for musicians I know. There were four, which isn’t bad.
Because most of the time I think we, as musicians, don’t do a very good job of supporting each other. I’m as guilty as everyone else. We love to play, and will turn out in large numbers for a jam session. But when it comes to attending gigs by our fellow musicians, we don’t do so well, which is one reason why the jazz policies at so many local clubs have not succeeded. Remember Café Paradiso, After Eight, Take Five? Perhaps you don’t.
It’s too early for New Year’s resolutions, perhaps, but I’m going to resolve to get out more. If more of us did that, maybe more jazz venues would thrive — not to mention pay better.
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About this blog
Tune Up won't be a calendar of events — Ottawa Jazz Happenings takes care of that. But it will discuss events and issues of interest to the JazzWorks community. Journalist, author, trumpet player and a jazz camper since 1999, Charley Gordon is a former vice-president of JazzWorks.