Earlier today I wrote about how the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival is about a lot more than jazz. Well I just returned from the realest (most real?) jazz show that I’ve yet seen since this festival began last Thursday. It was pianist Joey Calderazzo and saxophonist Branford Marsalis playing in the 300-seat NAC Studio.
It was unamplified, they had no idea what tune they were going to play next, several times one would start a tune and the other would be stumped for a few measures, and their friendship and musical kinship was felt by everyone in the crowd. It wasn’t the most enjoyable show I’ve seen here (Brian Blade’s Fellowship Band gets that distinction) but it was close, and it was the one that, for me, was the best definition of jazz…joyful, spontaneous, accessible, soulful, risky and just plain real.