On June 26th, 2017 I enjoyed another slice of one of my favourite summer treats, an evening at the Ottawa Jazz Fest.
It’s such a pleasant little ride along the Rideau Canal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, doncha know) to the pleasant little park that (generally) hosts that fest, where I invariably lock my steed to the waist-high honour system-invoking iron fence that surrounds the site and saunter in with my full-festival pass dangling in the breeze, grab myself a plastic cup full ‘o beer and take my place under the weathered old tree next to the soundboard, the standard meeting point for me and my jazz-peeps.
It should come as no surprise then that on a nice (can I say pleasant?) evening there’s hardly a thing that will keep me away from jazzfest, regardless of how pedestrian my interest may be in the artist featured on the mainstage; the programming is always good enough to provide at the very least a…pleasant…soundtrack to a warm night under the stars with good friends and flat beer.
On this night the pleasantries were delivered courtesy of Maceo Parker and the Ray Charles Orchestra featuring the Raelettes. Now, Maceo is pretty much a legend of the sax world and I’ve enjoyed his playing as a sideman on several gigs, and of course hearing him pay tribute to the music of the inimitable Ray Charles with (what I can only assume were) Ray’s original backup singers, well, it was a big-band soundtrack well worthy of the surroundings and it augmented my evening to pleasant perfection.
And if that wasn’t enough, when the last note dropped at 10:30 or so I joined my compadres for the late-nite treats in the After Dark Tent, where the Grammy-winning Robert Glasper Experiment provided the musical drapes that closed the evening.
Then I was left with just a slow, careful (and pleasant) bike ride home along the moodily-lit canal back to my abode. What could be nicer on a lazy Monday night?