Take 5 : Apt 613 Edition

Introducing Take 5, where someone whose business it is to know gives you the lowdown on their most anticipated shows at Jazz Fest.

apt613Apt 613 is one of the city’s longest-running and best-known blogs. Essential reading for any Ottawan interest in the city’s culture and night life, a good word from Apt 613 can carry real weight.

We asked contributor Alessandro Marcon to weigh in on this year’s lineup.


The Roots (June 20, 9:00pm Main Stage, Confederation Park): Ticket includes The Roots, Duchess, Bruce Cockburn and Reuben and the Dark

The most impressive aspect of The Roots’ extensive discography is their continual exploration of hip-hop/rap music and their unique and deft interpretations of the art form. Every Roots album sings of something unique and fresh. On top of that, The Roots’ live shows are famous for reinterpreting not only their tunes but those of other artists. It’s hip-hop live, hip-hop jazzified. They’re just sick musicians, monumental players in the modern age, and I can’t wait to see them.

Tanya Tagaq (June 30, 7:30, Laurier Avenue Music Stage, Marion Dewar Plaza. Ticket includes Jamie Cullum, Tanya Tagaq, TD Jazz Youth Summit and Jaga Jazzist)

I’ve never heard anything like the music of throat-singing artist Tanya Tagaq. It’s aggressive, serene, feral and magical all at the same time. It’s totally strange, strangely familiar, and totally engaging. Her undeniable talent has not gone unnoticed here in Canada, thankfully. She won The Polaris Prize in 2014 with her record, Animsim and it’s going to be a real event to hear this disc and her other expressions brought to life live.

Gypsophilia (June 25, 6:30pm // Main Stage, Confederation Park. Ticket includes Steve Miller Band, Gypsophilia, Lindi Ortega, Ikebe Shakedown)

I actually don’t know a ton about this band and have only listened to a handful of their tracks. What makes a band like this intriguing to see live, however, is the genre they work in. Biggish-bang gypsy music can be a straight-up joy-riot. It’s dynamic, energizing, gets the blood a-coarsin’. I really dig down on acts such as Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra and Gogol Bordello and am intrigued to see what Halifax’s Gypsophilia will bring to the table.

Afro-Cuban Jazz & Beyond (June 28, 6:30pm Main Stage, Confederation Park. Ticket includes Beirut, Afro Cuban Jazz & Beyond, Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra w/ Ingrid Jensen and The Wood Brothers)

Latin percussionists rule, and drummer Ignacio Berrao is a total boss. Merging together the Afro-Cuban traditions of ‘Son’, which might be loosely thought of as jazzier, more improvisational ‘Salsa’, with that of the American jazz tradition, this concert will bounce, circulate, dip down and dive with an eruption of rhythms sure to whisk you off around the world the back. Buckle up for the ride!

Antonio Sánchez & Migration (June 26, 9:00pm NAC Studio)

No top-5 list could be complete without mentioning at least one show in the NAC’s Studio. It’s an intimate space in which each and every seat not only enables unobstructed top-down views of the action but truly ensconces one in the warm milieu. While numerous noteworthy concerts are taking place in the Studio including the famous Branford Marsalis, four-time Juno-winner Renee Rosnes, Dave Douglas & High Risk (Douglas is a magisterial trumpeter), and the South-African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s Trio, one particular show has caught my eye: Antonio Sánchez & Migration. All I know of Antonio Sánchez is the work he did for the movie Birdman, in which the raucously rolling drums played such a forceful role that the soundtrack felt like a character itself. With saxophone, electric wind instruments, piano, Fender Rhodes, and acoustic and electric basses, this show is emitting an undeniably rousing tingle.

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