Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blanchard Beats The Odds

How fast can you turn out a huge crowd of jazz fans for a free concert by arguably the world's best trumpeter? Twenty-four hours is plenty, it seems.

My sometime-colleague Doug Fischer has the background details in this crisply written story.

As media advisor for this year's TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival, I got word of Wednesday night's final lineup at 10:10 p.m., Tuesday. I posted something here and on Facebook, and began wondering if social networking and good-old word-of-mouth would work fast enough to draw out a crowd that probably already had plans the night before an 11-day run of solid jazz. As luck would have it, I was already booked to do a radio interview for one of the two local campus/community radio stations at 6:40 this morning, and I sent an early-morning email or two to the producers of the morning drive show with the largest audience. My colleague Suzan was working another set of media contacts.

We lucked out with the weather — a sweltering day that gave way to a balmy, clear evening — and the jazz-ready spirit of Ottawans, who love a free concert as much as the next guy.

While not as full as it has been for shows by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Return To Forever or Brad Mehldau's trio, the park was pretty full and the vibe was great.

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