June 23 brought another beautiful sunny day to the 2014 Ottawa Jazz Fest. The fourth day of the festival welcomed groups such as Canailles, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society to the stage.
Montreal-based band Canailles livened up the Laurier Street Canadian Music Stage early in the evening with a fun set given in front of a sizeable crowd. The folk/blues/cajun 8-piece gave an honest and passionate performance presenting material from their two albums “Ronds-points” and “Manger du bois” including Breakers and La Route. They also sang Texas, a tune about missing their flight to perform at SXSW. Canailles concluded with the song Mon chien est mort to end things off. Perhaps it was the language barrier, but despite their high-energy and foot-stomping sounds, the seemingly dormant crowd hardly reacted and people trickled out one by one, leaving only a small audience that remained until the end of the set. It was a shame, given the amount of passion that the musicians put into their music.
Meanwhile, Confederation Park was filled with festival-goers who had convened in front of the Main Stage to catch the headlining performance by Tedeschi Trucks Band. Formerly known as the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, the 11-piece blues, rock and soul jam band from Jacksonville, Florida delivered a nice blend of tunes from their albums “Revelator” and “Made Up Mind” as well as collaborations including I Know, Made Up Mind, It’s So Heavy, Love Has Something Else to Say, Darling Be Home Soon and Midnight in Harlem. Tedeschi’s incredible husky voice was a pleasure to hear live not to mention her partner Trucks’ exceptional signature slide-guitar solos that festival-goers cheered on at every occasion. The excellent musicians that surrounded them were equally talented, delivering notable trumpet, bass and sax solos throughout the set. There was very little crowd interaction as the Tedeschi Trucks Band let the music speak for itself. At the end, festival-goers got up from their chairs and called the band back for an encore, for which they happily returned on stage, leaving their fans with the Bound For Glory and Idle Wind.
The last performance of Day 4, presented on the Laurier Stage as part of the After Dark Series, was given courtesy of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. The Grammy-nominated steampunk 18-piece ensemble, originally rooted in Vancouver and now based out of Brooklyn, attracted a good crowd who gathered under the OLG tent for the ultimate modern big band experience. Under the leadership of composer/conductor Darcy James, the musicians performed pieces from the widely acclaimed 2009 debut “Infernal Machines” including the opening number Transit led by the talented Canadian trumpetist Ingrid Jensen. They continued with the unrecorded tribute All In, an homage to the late “trumpet guru” Laurie Frink. The band then moved into the lengthy Brooklyn Babylon, a very colourful and rich composition depicting the tale of a man commissioned by the mayor of New York to build a carousel on top of a high-rise building. Each musician had the opportunity to shine throughout the performance and James Argues’ expressive conducting gestures and innovative approach helped to deliver a top-notch performance thanks to his remarkable musicality.
Day 5 of the Ottawa Jazz Fest continues today with Elliot BROOD, Holly Cole, Daniel Lanois and SoCalled among many others. The festival runs until July 1 at various locations.