JazzWorks faculty get around. In late January, pianist Dave Restivo, vocalist Julie Michels and saxophonist Don Braden (guest faculty member in 2010) were in Haiti, opening the eighth annual Haiti International Jazz Festival.
Also in attendance was JazzWorks president Judy Humenick, who was acting as producer/manager for the Braden/Michels Project. The group’s appearance was co-ordinated by the Canadian Embassy, which also helped locate a local drummer and bassist for the group.
After the usual (in jazz) one-hour introduction and rehearsal, the group opened the festival like this. Not surprisingly, given the great solos by all, the crowd loved it.
Braden/Michels did two evening shows with audiences ranging from close to around 700 to around 3,000. There was also a workshop with 100 people in attendance and jam sessions each of the four nights of the festival.
In his account of the trip, Dave confessed to being apprehensive about the trip, given all that he had read about conditions there. “Well, the rubble is real,” he writes, “and so is the poverty. But so is the warmth, generosity, humour, joie de vivre, and dignity of a proud and resilient people.”
Dave says he will remember the enthusiasm and groove brought to the group by its guest Haitian rhythm section, the “amazing” concerts and jamming with Don and excited young local musicians.
Says Judy: “The Canadian Embassy staff and Festival people were wonderful, the events were extremely well organized and they loved the band.”
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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.