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May 27, 2006

Ottawa Jazz Festival Loses Headliner

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian jazz festival

Ottawa festival loses headliner

One of the headliners booked for this summer’s Ottawa Jazz Festival suffered massive head injuries in a severe beating in New Orleans late last week.

Pianist Hilton Ruiz, a leading Afro-Cuban musician, remains in a coma nearly a week after he was found on a sidewalk just off Bourbon Street in a pool of blood.

Police initially thought he had fallen from a balcony several storeys above, but doctors later determined Ruiz had been smashed repeatedly all over his head by some very dangerous blows. Ruiz is fighting for his life in hospital, and police have no suspects, witnesses, nor a motive.

Ruiz, who was to begin filming a video for his new CD the next morning, has had his extensive tour cancelled, including a mainstage appearance June 24 at the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival.

In his place, the festival has booked Paquito D’Rivera, a renowned Cuban saxophonist who became available after Calgary’s jazz festival folded last week.

D’Rivera and his quintet will perform in Winnipeg on June 23, Ottawa the 24th, Medicine Hat, AB, on June 25 and Edmonton on June 26.

The Ottawa festival will showcase a wide range of concerts on its main stage, including Canadian reggae-rockers Bedouin Soundclash, England’s crooner Jamie Cullum, funk master Maceo Parker and gospel artists Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

The festival’s smaller stages will feature pianist Brad Mehldau, Yusef Lateef, Sonny Fortune, Miguel Zenon, Avishai Cohen, Robert Glasper and their Nordic series, which features the Esbjorn Svensson Trio and Susi Hyldgaard.

The Ottawa festival runs from June 22 to July 2.

for more information visit www.ottawajazzfestival.com

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