Tuesday’s incessant rain gave way to a day mixed with sun and clouds which aloud festival-goers to return to the Ottawa Jazz Festival site to enjoy the live music without being drenched by Mother Nature’s furious downfall. Day 6 of the festival featured a nice variety of musicians including Les soeurs Boulay and headliner Dianne Reeves.
Les soeurs Boulay, or the Boulay Sisters in English, took the Laurier Stage accompanied by two bandmates for a fun light-hearted 60-minute set. The folk duo from the Gaspésie region of Quebec made up of Stéphanie and Mélanie Boulay attracted primarily Francophone festival-goers, a number of which were unfamiliar with this relatively new band. The sisters kicked off their set with the beautifully harmonized Cul-de-sac and continued with Où la vague se mêle à la grand’ route, Ton amour est passé de mode, Mappemonde, the finger-snapping Lola en confiture, Un trou noir au bout d’un appât and the raunchy Ôte-moi mon linge, each of them tunes from their debut album “Le poids des confettis”. The sisters followed with T’es pas game, a song about enjoying the outdoors that they dedicated to Dan, an audience member sitting in the front row, and right after performed the single Par le chignon du cou. They also sang Couteaux à beurre, a song produced in November 2013 as part of Jean-Sébastien Houle’s project “A Song A Day” (Une toune par jour). The sisters had pleasant exchanges with the audience and had just the right amount of interaction between each piece. Being relatively new to the stage, they projected a nice energy and appeared genuine and humble. Les soeurs Boulay concluded their set with the piece Des shooters de fort sur ton bras as the crowd clapped along.
Shortly after, it was headliner Dianne Reeve’s turn to take the spotlight on the Main Stage for her first live performance at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. The jazz singer from Detroit, Michigan appeared on stage fashionably late, while her quartet played a couple of introductory pieces to warm up the crowd. Elegantly dressed in a pristine white dress, Reeves sounded as sublime as she looked gracing the public with her smooth and soulful rich voice. The four-time Grammy Award winner delivered a beautiful modern version of Fleetwood Mac’s hit song Dreams featured on her latest album “Beautiful Life” and jazzified Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain as festival-goers sang along. The American jazz songbird effortlessly moved from one song to the next with a touch of grace in every note she hit. She also offered a contemporary revisited rendition of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, a recording featured on her album “Bridges” that some audience members quickly recognized as well as Tango, a mesmerizing uplifting piece off of “Beautiful Life” in which she plays with the range and flexibility of her voice by creating a variety of colourful vocals in no particular language. Reeves slowed things down with Cold, also from her newest record, a redemptive song reflecting on a past relationship from which she’s grown and become stronger. Although she didn’t give an encore, festival-goers seemed quite pleased with Reeve’s performance as they sprang up from their seats to clap and cheer her on well after she exited the stage.
Day 7 of the festival continues today with performances by Myriad3, Susanna, Earth, Wind & Fire and The Dirty Dozen Brass Ensemble to name a few. The Ottawa International Jazz Festival goes until July 1 at various locations.