Monthly Archives: June 2019

Ottawa Jazzfest: Norah Jones

norah 1

Photo by Jim McQuaid

I have discovered that one of the sweetest sounds in music is that of the Hammond organ.  It’s a mainstay of blues, early 70’s rock and at Ottawa Jazzfest Norah Jones had one in her band!  Topping it off, it was the opening sound of her concert, I knew it would be a great show.

For me Norah Jones did not disappoint, it was what I was expecting, as was my friend Glen who joined me that evening.  We lucked out on a good spot to put our chairs, the weather was perfect and through the evening I swayed to everything that Norah played switching between newer material and favourites from earlier albums.

Through the 90 minute set the fan favourites came out, and just as the appearance of the Hammond organ was a surprise, so was the musicianship of Ms. Jones (though I should not have been). While I am sure everyone was waiting for the hits from her debut Lp, she snuck “Come away with me” by stepping away from the piano and strapping an electric guitar around her neck and started the opening chords.  Well received was Sunrise, for which Norah played acoustic guitar along while mentioning that she “often plays this song at sunset”.

One of the strongest performances of the evening was on Neil Young’s “Don’t be denied”, which she played as part of her encore, it’s a song she has performed with Neil at his Bridge School concerts. Her version comes from her 2016 Lp ‘Day Breaks’, a critically acclaimed album that was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 50 Lps of 2016 and has an average rating of 4 stars.

One of the cutest moments of the evening came at a point in the show where three fire engines roared down Laurier Ave heading downtown.  Jones waited about 15 to 20 seconds for the fire trucks to pass before starting into ”Don’t know why” from her ‘Come with me’ debut album, the wait for it seems appropriate.

The band was tight and kudos go to her the musicians starting with keyboardist Pete Remm on the previously mentioned Hammond and other keyboards, Josh Latanzzi on bass and the grooviest drummer I have every seen play Greg Wieczorek, who had a groove going – he kept us moving all night long.

By the time the final strains of a very cool acoustic “Lonestar” floated into the night sky Norah was gone.  Me with Ms. Jones at Jazzfest was one of the most satisfying shows I’ve seen in a long time.  I got what I expected and more, including the sounds of a Hammond organ.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker& @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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Ottawa Jazzfest: Chicago

Chicago Isle of Wight

This photo is from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, and appears on the cover of the 2 LP set

It was a perfect Chicago evening, a breeze cooled the air as thousands filled every available square foot of real estate of Marion Dewar Plaza.  Liz and I brought chairs but didn’t sit in them during the show as there was a section of people standing on the cement pad which would have blocked us from seeing the band if se sat down.  I didn’t mind the standing, it was was worth it standing to see the band.

The original Chicago Transit Authority was repped by James Pankow (keyboards and vocals), Robert Lamm (Trombone) and Lee Loughnane (Trumpet, Flute and Vocals). Since the death Terry Kath there has been a many musicians that have called Chicago ‘home’.  Canadian Neil Donnel, the latest lead vocalist,  performed most of the vocals that were primarily sung by original Chicagoan Peter Cetera and later by Bill Champain in the David Foster era of hits such as “You’re the Inspiration”, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, “Look Away” and “Hard Habit to Break”.  It’s almost like the band looks for singers that can emulate that classic Cetera vocal style.

For the most part this was a hit laden concert, the horns figured prominently (as they should) musically and physically as Lamm, Loughnane and Larry Klimas (who has toured with the band since 2003) took centre stage through out the entire show.  Watching James Pankow weld his trombone like a guitar around the stage it shows that he along with the other originals still enjoy hitting the road.  This year marks 52 years of touring, Pankow (72 years old), Loughnane (73) and Lamm (75) don’t show signs of slowing down.  An extended percussion performance from the duo of Walter Reyes Jr. and Ramon Yslas as entertaining as it was, clearly was meant to give the band a break before the final stretch of the concert.

Musically the band hit most of the songs those attending wanted to hear including ‘Just You and Me’, the encore of ‘24 or 6 to 4’ a rousing ‘Saturday in the Park’, the previously mentioned David Foster hits and a fabulous “I’m am Man” and an amazing ‘Old Days’, one of the personal favourites from the band.

The concert as good as it was, was technically poor, some vocals were hard to hear, the video work was below par and the blending of camera shots on the screen was non-existent.

From this concert I went and purchased the 2018 release of the two LP set of Chicago at the Isle of Wight Music Festival.  Performed in August of 1970, included on the album were 5 songs performed in June of 2019 – including ‘Beginnings’, ‘I’m a man’ and ‘Does anyone really know what time it is’.  This weeks performance of ‘Does anyone really know what time it is’ was amazing; the opening horns of the the song brought everyone to their feet!

I’ll rate Chicago at Ottawa Jazzfest as 8 out of ten, 2 points lost because of technical shortfalls.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker & @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

75 Years On

D Day 2June 6th, 1944, the start of the the end of WWII; and 75 years later the sacrifice is still considered as great as it ever was.  D-Day and all its planning was the product of the failure of Dieppe only 2 years earlier. As a nation we never cease  to remember the sacrifice of that day, but do we ever ask why the sacrifice had to be given?

In my last post I was writing about how there seems to be no limts on what is ‘said ‘ on the internet.  The bravado of many has also extended to the actions on the streets. We are seeing things being done and words being spoken that a few would say set us up for dangerous times. It is as if the filter of kindness and respectful conversation has been lifted.  75 years ago young Canadians saw first hand what hate and selfishness created, a world where there was no room for dissent and no tolerance for different thinking.  June 6, 1944 was the beginning of the end of of that way of thinking.  As Canadian and allied forces swept through Europe liberating millions from oppression the stories of what our soldiers saw slowly entered the safe domain that was Canada in 1944.

So here we are in 2019, we’re over 100 years out from the end of the Great War and we are just a year away from the 75thanniversay of the end World War II.  Over the next 14 months the battles that led to the end of the Nazi reign will be detailed, the horror what man could do to another man and their familiy will be retold. Will we as a modern civilsation take stock of the losses and vow to make sure not one man or movement that takes us down that path again will be tolerated?  More importantly how will we ensure this happens, or doesn’t happen again?

UnknownD Day 1Taking my last post about respecting a ‘golden rule’ for social media another step forward, is it time that society as a whole stopped yelling at each other and started talking?  We are a nation and for the most part a society built on free speech, respect and being cordial to each other.

The end of WW2 is about the end of humanity at its worst, when we commemorated the centennary of the end of the Great War it was different.  It was truly the first global conflict in modern times, nothing like it had been seen before.  The reason for the great war?  It was about expanding influence.  WWII was fought because of a tyrant and his beliefs and the charasmatic method a country fell into a trance.

Today we are close, but also far from a repeat of 1939 and the rise of fascism. We are close because charasmatic groups are using methods at their fingertips to spread messages of hate and discourse.  We’re far from the same outcome because we remember when humanity last allowed these words, emotions and actions to overtake our responsibility.

75 years on, let’s take the words of our veterans and put them into action that we don’t allow movements of hate, movements that aim to restrict others, movements of fear to take over our society. Today in 2019, we have allowed fear and division to creep back and take over our politics and a common sense of reason and frankly some days it really scares me.

When we commemorate the 100thanniversay of the end of WWII in September of 2045, will we be able to say we learned the lessons Canadians died for?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker& @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net