- Night #2 here at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, and what a night! Right now Willie Nelson is doing an enthusiastic call and response with the lively crowd here in Confederation Park. His opening act was the Ottawa-based jazz singer Kellylee Evans (who played the Norwood Village Green Concert Series just last night). Alan Neal of the CBC introduced her and called her a national treasure. I’m no expert on Canadian treasures, but by the way she sounded, he’s got to be right.
But the highlight of the night for me was the rare opportunity to see trumpeter Tom Harrell in the intimate Studio Theatre at the National Arts Center. Seeing him live has been on my musical to-do list since the 80s, when he was a regular in Phil Woods’ band. But tonight was extra special. It was a concert organized by the festival to include five string players joining Harrell’s quintet playing arrangements just for tonight. What a treat.
The festival continues through July 1st with upcoming performances by The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Bad Plus, Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Kurt Rosenwinkel and many, many more. Learn more at www.ottawajazzfestival.com.