While I haven't exactly been living outside jazz for the past two months—see my ongoing reviews in DownBeat magazine—my work on a non-music book has occupied most of my time. The book will have to share some space with music for the next few weeks because festival season officially begins on Thursday in Canada.
This week and next I'll be at the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, although strictly as an audience member—one of the few times that has happened since 1992.
With no review assignment or other official function, I have strictly a fan's perspective on this event, so here's my list of shows I'm looking forward to:
June 23: Robert Plant & the Band of Joy – I was never a huge Led Zep fan, and never saw them live, but anything Buddy Miller involves himself with is usually worth hearing, and I'm intrigued how Plant translates his rock god persona to this kind of role.
June 24: Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Unlike Plant, I've seen Costello often, but never tire of him.
June 27: Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau – Thinking back, although I've seen him many times, I don't think I've ever seen Mehldau play in anything but a trio setting (could be wrong, but I don't recall it) and it's been awhile since I've seen Redman. I don't know what to expect, and I like that.
June 28: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society – I've been lobbying to get them here for three years, and looking forward to hearing them for the first time in 18 months.
June 29: Vijay Iyer – Again, I haven't seen him play in about 18 months, and haven't seen him in a solo setting in about twice that long. Loved his solo record, and probably looking forward to seeing this show as much as anything I'll see this year.
July 2: Kenny Wheeler/Myra Melford/Jon Irabagon/Diana Torto – Another show where I don't know what to expect. Wheeler once told me that he loves throwing himself into new situations, and while I'm familiar enough with my friend Myra's music to know she can fit herself into any situation, I have no idea how Irabagon will sound with Wheeler.
July 3: Daniel Lanois' Black Dub – My favourite recording over the past year until The Decemberists knocked it off. Always a joy to see Brian Blade, and Lanois always gives a great show in his hometown.