Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Family Ties

Those of us who toil on the jazz fest circuit know that there are few better people to encounter on the road than the musicians in the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Several of them have close ties to Ottawa and its musicians, so the jam session on Monday night promised to be a good one.

It didn't disappoint. In fact, it more or less defined the jazz tradition, prompting house pianist Nancy Walker to Facebook that the room was like "one big, extended, happy, musical family" and bandleader John Geggie to blog that "it seemed as though the (room) was a gigantic tour bus with the heaviest all-star band on the planet."

I was deep in conversation with fellow journalist Mark Miller and Schneider pianist Frank Kimbrough, but we all had half-an-ear on Donny McCaslin as he played chorus after chorus after chorus on "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and Ingrid Jensen burned on "Invitation."

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