Lots of things are going on in the world of JazzWorks and we decided that a regular blog would be a good way of keeping you up to date. This won't be so much a calendar of events — Ottawa Jazz Happenings takes care of that. But it will discuss events and issues of interest to the JazzWorks community.
Jam session notes
Those of you who were not at January's jam missed a good one. The band, called Christie Lake Retake, featured some great musicians who all happened to be at jazz camp a decade or so ago — violinist Laura Nerenberg, singer/pianist Martine Courage, hubby Rob Frayne playing electric bass and drummer Scott Warren. Their varied repertoire included a nifty reharmonization of the old Wizard of Oz tune If I Only Had a Brain. Among the jammers were Shannon Eddy Smith whose delivery of Jobim's Dindi stopped the show the first time she did it at camp, also at Christie Lake. She stopped the show again, with help from a great rhythm section — Scott Warren, Sol Gunner on bass and Peter Hum on piano. Sol played heroically just about the whole night and enjoyed himself immensely.
Betty Ann Bryanton, in a ludicrous hat meant to ensure her visibility — and it did! — did a masterful job of co-ordinating the proceedings, and also contributed a song. (See below for a brief profile of Betty Ann.)
Two newcomers put in an appearance, which is always exciting. Connor Fleming on guitar and Neil Meneses on bass, played Henry Mancini's rarely-performed Charade and did it well. Come back soon, guys.
The February jam features a newly-formed host band, The Six Pack Jazz Ensemble. Included in it are
Jazz camp in the off-season
Expect an announcement soon from JazzWorks Artistic Director John Geggie about an opportunity to take a bit of a jazz refresher course. Plans are afoot to bring selected faculty and interested participants together in one-day workshop, aimed at both singers and instrumentalists. Stay tuned.
Alert readers will have seen the announcement of the Geggie concert series at the National Arts Centre's Fourth Stage. One of the featured participants, on Feb. 16, will be jazz camp faculty member, saxophonist Frank Lozano. For further info check out http://nac-cna.ca/en/community/event/4551.
New board members
Margaret Dalziel and Dave Finlayson have joined the JazzWorks board, both familiar faces at jazz camp. Margaret is a pianist and a teaches now at the University of Waterloo as associate professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Conrad Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology. Before joining the Waterloo, she was associate professor at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Dave has had a 40-year career in environmental research and senior management positions in the chemical, mining, and agricultural sectors. And he plays drums. Other board members are: Judy Humenick, president, Charley Gordon, vice president, Lauren Walker, secretary, Ira Ibrams, treasurer, Janet Hofstetter and John Graham. Our administrator, who also attends board meetings, is Anna Frlan. Board meetings are held once a month, before the jam session.
Spotlight on volunteers
That Ottawa Jazz Happenings that you see every week takes a lot of work. For many years that work was done pretty well single-handedly by Gavin McLintock, and later by Cyan Donati. Since 2010, Jazz Happenings has been co-ordinated by Betty Ann Bryanton. Betty Ann is also a trained classical singer, has won awards and even sang a solo on the NAC stage alongside Shannon Mercer. She has sung with the National Youth Choir, Ottawa Choral Society and performed musical theatre Centrepointe with Orpheus and Savoy. Her day job is as Senior Systems Analyst in I.T. in the federal government.
Betty Ann got into jazz by fluke. A choir member asked her sub in a jazz quartet. Betty Ann was surprised she knew so many of the melodies and was hooked. She attended her first JazzWorks camp in 2006. Since then she has worked hard, including taking private lessons from Christine Duncan, to transition from the classical sound. She says she's a jazz camp lifer, so if you haven't yet met her yet, you will.
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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.