Ottawa JazzFest Review

The Ottawa Jazz Festival is now over for another year, and I declare this years edition to be a great success. While I only had enough energy to attend 5 evenings, they were all great shows.  The opening night set the tone with some great performances by The Boxcar Boys, Alvin Youngblood Hart and a walk down 100 years of Chicago Blues memories with Charlie Musselwhite and Elvin Bishop.  On Day 2, I really enjoyed the energetic performances by the No BS Brass Band. On Day 3, Sarah McLachlan wowed the audience with her crystal clear vocals and wonderful charm.  She’s back in fine form and I think she gave one of the best concerts of the festival.

Closing out the first weekend was a great party starting off with Mackenzie Rhythm Section, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and a late show with the 24th Street Wailers.  Despite fighting off the effects of Cancer (and Chemo), Sharon Jones put on a great performance.  I only hope that she can win this round of the fight as it would be sad to lose her so soon.  As always, the 24th Street Wailers closed out the late evening show with a high energy blues and boogie dance party.

I made it back to the festival for the closing night as there was no way I was going to miss Brian Wilson’s 50th Anniversary of Pet Sounds and I certainly was not going to pass up an opportunity to see the Hot Sardines again.  Both proved to be a fantastic choice to close out the show.  With a 12 piece ensemble, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine put on a great show that clearly showed what an innovative album Pet Sounds was for it’s time.  After the full album, we were then treated to many of the other great Beach Boys tunes during an extended encore.  As for the Hot Sardines, they brought their special blend of vintage jazz that just makes you get up and dance.  I love the old style jazz and they’re one of the bands who bring it back to life.

Thanks to the festival organizers, volunteers and performers for a great festival!!!

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