Groundbreaking Women Perform at 2019 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival
The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival is proud of its tradition of presenting up-and-coming artists such as Diana Krall in the ’90s to established artists and legends like Aretha Franklin, Esperanza Spalding, Tanya Tagaq, Mavis Staples and many more featured over the past 39 years.
In putting together this year’s lineup, our Programming Manager Petr Cancura raised the stakes by block-booking fewer artists with fellow festivals. Norah Jones, Omara Portuondo and the Melissa Aldana Quartet are just some of the artists touring and performing in various cities across the country, the cost of which is shared by the presenting events.
Programming seminal artists like Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science, Christine Jensen’s = Jazz Orchestra, Duo Léandre/Freedman, Jane Siberry, Kris Davis & Ingrid Laubrock as one-off performances in Ottawa takes a lot out of the programming budget.
“This year we had to do it,” says Executive Producer Catherine O’Grady. “We had to try and make women a priority. Not just as leaders, but wherever we could find a place for women as players, arrangers, composers… So you won’t find the Women In Music banner in any one series. You’ll find women everywhere.”
Funked from birth, Hill is a child prodigy who wrote her first song at the age of 4. Hill’s mother, a pianist from Tokyo, met her husband playing in a funk band in the 70s—Sly and the Family Stone.
Prince discovered Judith Hill early in her career, eventually recording and producing her award-winning 2015 album Back in Time at his Paisley Park studio.
L.A.’s Judith Hill is bonafide sunset soul for a funktastic opening night.
RIYL: Betty Davis, Chaka Khan, Rebecca Noelle
Toronto’s seminal legend of feminist new wave, Jane Siberry artfully combines lush electro hymnals with new wave synth pop.
She collaborated with avant-garde legend Brian Eno on her 1993 masterpiece When I Was Boy. The album melded art-pop with lush atmospherics, spiritual balladry, and her iconic melodic sensibility. K.D. Lang was featured on the standout duet “Calling All Angels”.
Jane Siberry’s skewed melodies and sensuous experimentalism helped pave the way for Canada’s current generation of art-pop from Austra and Allie X, to Grimes and Bernice. In the mid-80s, Jane Siberry was a key figure in defining Toronto’s burgeoning art-pop aesthetic.
RIYL: Kate Bush, Lori Anderson, Mary-Margaret O’Hara, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois
In an overwhelmingly male-dominated field, masterful drummer Terri Lyne Carrington stands out not only as one of the world’s best, but an unparalleled mentor to all female musicians. 3-time Grammy-winner Terri Lyne Carrington is one of the world’s most respected drummers, bandleaders, and composers in contemporary jazz.
A renowned feminist thought leader, Terri Lyne Carrington has been a tireless advocate for gender equality in music. Carrington’s critically acclaimed 2015 album The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL celebrated gender equality like few projects before it, highlighting legendary female instrumentalists and vocalists, paying homage to the male composers that influenced them. The landmark album featured Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Nancy Wilson, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Meshell Ndegoecello, and many more.
tl;dr Mind-rattling drummer/bandleader changes the face of gender equality in music while pocketing multiple Grammy awards.
RIYL: Jack DeJohnette, The Roots, Roy Haynes
Late-night dancing on dusty parquet, plumes of cigar smoke, rapturous rhythms echoing off the crumbling walls of Havana’s old port: Omara Portuondo’s voice is an invaluable time capsule of Cuba’s golden era.
Long before her contributions to 1997’s Ry Cooder-led, global smash, Buena Vista Social Club, Portuondo had already cemented herself as one of Latin America’s most revered vocalists.
June 28 – As the Communist revolution of the 1960’s plunged Cuba into its long period of political and cultural isolation, Omara Portuondo focused on her blossoming solo career, even performing on sugar cane farms for conscripted field workers. For most of the 1970’s, she performed with Cuba’s revered charanga ensemble, Orquesta Aragon. By the 1980’s, she had achieved the status of a national treasure, continuing to record, perform, and eventually acting on her own television show.
At 88 and at the top of her game, Portuondo has embarked on her “Last Kiss” farewell world tour. On June 28, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival is the final North American stop.
She will be performing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in a unique collaboration!
RIYL: Buena Vista Social Club, Rommel Ribeiro, Norah Jones, Miguel de Armas
The kids are dancing in the jazz clubs! Saxophonist Nubya Garcia is at the forefront of Britain’s jazz explosion, creating futurist bebop and afro-centric jazz that nods to Rollins and Coltrane while hurtling fearlessly into music’s unwritten future.
Nubya Garcia is a revered alumna of London’s innovative jazz education organization, Tomorrow’s Warriors. With a special focus on those from the African diaspora and female-identifying artists, Nubya credits the program with giving birth to Britain’s jazz explosion. Other notable alumni include: Moses Boyd, Eska, Shabaka Hutchings, and Soweto Kinch to name a few.
In 2017, Garcia self-released her debut e.p., Nubya’s 5IVE, to universal, critical acclaim. With a new popular consciousness being forged by US artists like Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington, Nubya’s 5 is a fearless collision of futurist hiphop, bebop, and exploratory afro-soul.
RIYL: Fela Kuti, John Coltrane, Shabaka Hutchings, Floating Points, Kamaal Williams