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February 5, 2006

Jazz Concerts in Ottawa Celebrate Black History Month

Written by
cindy mcleod

Impressions in Jazz launches its 2nd season in Ottawa February 23rd, with ’Suite Freedeom’, a two part concert series celebrating Black History Month. The series features jazz music inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, and is performed by an all-star line-up of Canada’s leading jazz and symphony musicians.

Produced by Ottawa bassist Adrian Cho, the repertory concert series highlights seminal figures and movements in jazz history, and presents first-time and rarely heard symphonic jazz works. Each concert is the result of extensive research and preparation.

The February concert series features vocal and instrumental performances, with 40 jazz and symphony musicians from Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto gathering form the combos and large ensembles.

On Thursday, February 23rd Part One, Voices in a Strange Land’ celebrates the African-American/Canadian experience. With vocal music ranging from Negro Spirituals to gospel, jazz, musical theatre, opera, and original music, programme highlights include selections from Joe Sealy’s Juno award-winning Africville Suite, a musical recounting of the journey from Africa to the New World, and tributes to African-American performers and composers of 20th century popular music.

The concert features the vocals of acclaimed bass-baritone Broadway performer/opera soloist Marcus Nance; and jazz vocalist/recording artist Anna S. Williams, the two are accompanied by a quartet led by bassist Adrian Cho, with pianist Holly Arsenault, saxophonist Chet Doxas and percussionist/drummer Mark Rehder. Cho and Rehder contribute vocals, along with Committed Praise, a nine-voice gospel choir. Special guests include Ottawa guitarist Vince Halfhide, and the horn section of Rick Rangno (trumpet), Sandy Gordon (alto saxophone), and Maurice Wozniak (trombone).

Part Two, ‘Suite Freedom’, takes place on Saturday, February 25th in Ottawa, and features 25 leading Canadian jazz and symphony musicians performing the works of John Coltrane, Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus, composers known for their seminal compositional commentaries on Civil Rights jazz of the 1960s and 70s.

The programme will feature three Canadian premieres of seminal symphonic jazz masterpieces. John Coltrane’s powerful five-movement “Africa/Brass” Suite (1961) features five different saxophone soloists and a fifteen-piece brass and reed orchestra. A 21piece orchestra performs Duke Ellington’s landmark six-movement “Liberian Suite”(1947), and a 25 piece orchestra previews future concerts with Gil Evans and Claude Thornhill’s masterful 1942 re-composition of Tchaikovsky’s “Arabian Dance”.

The In-depth programme guide notes contain background information and musical analyses, with guest contributions by a variety of experts.

For information visit www.diadic.com

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