062516 John Scofield and Joe Lovano/Sarah McLachlan, Ottawa, ON

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I’ve been happy to shell out my very own semi-hard earned money to see both John Scofield and Joe Lovano play music in the past so it’s no surprise that I was doubly-happy to hear them perform together as yet another of the nearly countless great shows that made up Ottawa’s 2016 jazz festival.

The pair were booked indoors on June 25th, inside the National Arts Centre’s semi-large theatre which was the same room where Kamasi Washington had all but destroyed my musical consciousness just days before.  Just walking back into that room gave me a jazzy version of the heebie jeebies – the hazzie jazzies if you will – that made my skin crawl.  And that formication was merely prelude to watching as one of the jazz world’s most cerebral-yet-still-groovy guitar players tower above, beside, and behind the incessantly clever honkings of Lovano’s saxophone.  

And of course it was a great show.

But the jazzfest wasn’t done with me yet.  No friends, following this theatre performance there was a big shoe revving up on the mainstage outside in Confederation Park and the lawnchairs were out in full force in anticipation of a set from the remarkably popular and equally talented Sarah McLachlan

I had been a fan of Sarah McLachlan since I found myself in the illicit possession of a three-song promo CD of hers that featured the studio version of her hit Into the Fire as well as two tracks that she had recorded with eight members of the London Symphony Orchestra.  (I came to own the disc due to a one-time abscondation related to my summer employ with the gubbermint; my lack of interest in googling the appropriate statute of limitations dictates that I say no more.)  Anyway, one of those two bonus tracks was a song called Sad Clown on which Sarah’s singing blended with the classical octet so magically that together they sounded like a fleet of angels caressing a thousand cotton-candy rainbow-harps.  I mean I listened to that song over and over and over again with my eyes slammed tight in sonic ecstasy.  As a matter of fact, I listened to Sad Clown so much that I honestly couldn’t tell you what the third song on the disc was.

This may have been my only time seeing Sarah McLachlan – I can’t recall for certain – and however good her set may or may not have been I can promise you that it didn’t come close to how that Sad Clown made me feel.  And no wonder; I was hoping to see a unicorn appear onstage riding a purple pegasus and handing out musical peanut butter cups.  

But then, I knew I wasn’t going to get what I wanted; I didn’t deserve it.  It was my five-finger karmic payback for already getting so much joy out of the nicked disc.

Still, it was a great summer evening out of the house, the absence of singing angels notwithstanding.

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