Cooler After Dark: $20 late night series brings best party acts downtown

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions

Soil & “Pimp” Sessions

From June 23 – July 3 the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival’s OLG After Dark series takes over the downtown night-life calendar with a set of ten $20 late shows, including beloved songsmith Jim Bryson; recent Prince-protégé and Grammy-winner Judith Hill (June 29); Balkan brass legends Fanfare Ciocărlia with Toronto gypsy guitar wiz Adrian Raso as Devil’s Tale (June 28); Japanese “death jazz” thrillers Soil & “Pimp” Sessions (July 2); The Flat Earth Society, an experimental big band performing a live score to the classic Ernst Lubitsch silent comedy The Oyster Princess (June 23); rising Toronto alt-pop wonders HIGHS (June 24); irresistible indie-electronic brother-sister duo Tennyson (June 25); retro-rocking, floor-filling cannonballs The 24th Street Wailers (June 26); French DJ CloZee’s cool, whipcrack-rhythms and cinematic textures (June 27); and swinging hot jazz ensemble The Hot Sardines, who close the Festival with a party for the ages (July 3).

Every night at 10:30pm, following the conclusion of the day’s headline set in Confederation Park, crowds converge on the tented Tartan Homes Stage at Marion Dewar Plaza to keep the party going. Catering to a younger audience than the main stage, the series hops genres like a stream on shuffle, from high energy ‘40s style hot jazz to bleeding edge glitch-hop and back. Each show is also included in a daily park pass, meaning you can see every outdoor show at one great price. Check out our OLG After Dark Playlist below!

Judith Hill

From receiving her Grammy Award in the mail while filling out bankruptcy paperwork to starring on national television in The Voice and recording an LP at Paisley Park, Judith Hill’s path to fame has already seen enough highs and lows to fill a documentary of her own. Judith Hill’s first brush with fame came when she was chosen to be Michael Jackson’s duet partner in a historic UK concert residency that was poised to shatter worldwide box office records, until it was precluded by the icon’s tragic death. A few selections of Hill and Jackson’s remarkable chemistry made it into the smash film This is It.

Judith Hill with Prince, 2015.

Judith Hill with Prince, 2015.

After touring with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Elton John, she played a key role in the Oscar-winning documentary on backup singers 20 Feet from Stardom, with her wrenching solo spot “Desperation” being a highlight of the film. Now, after a stopover on The Voice and a superb 2015 debut LP produced by the late Prince himself, Hill and her ace FAM Band (featuring her mother and father, veterans of sessions with Sly Stone and Wayne Shorter) are poised to take their place among today’s most popular funk/R&B groups. (June 29)

Devil’s Tale

Fanfare Ciocărlia are arguably the best-known Romani brass band in the world, noted for their wild live performances, featuring a dozen players wailing at speeds sometimes exceeding 200bpm. Discovered in 1996 in a northern Romanian town literally “not on any map,” the band was an instant worldwide success, selling 150,000 copies of its debut Radio Paşcani, supplying countless samples to the Balkan beat phenomenon and contributing to numerous film soundtracks. Approached in 2014 by Canadian Adrian Raso, a guitarist specializing in Django Reinhardt-esque gypsy jazz and hard rock, their Devil’s Tale collaboration blends Fanfare’s otherworldly talents with a whiff of spaghetti western brimstone. (June 28)

Jim Bryson

Alongside his friend Kathleen Edwards, Jim Bryson is Ottawa’s most respected singer-songwriter since Bruce Cockburn, having assembled a rich discography of thoughtful, wry tunes worthy of comparison to predecessors and peers like The Weakerthans, Skydiggers and The Wooden Sky. A hometown hero who has made good nationally, Bryson’s songs are part of the contemporary fabric of the city, a relationship he continues with his new LP Somewhere We Will Find Our Place. (June 30)

Soil & “Pimp” Sessions

Japan’s Soil & “Pimp” Sessions have been a sensation in the Tokyo night life scene for over 15 years, veering wildly from glitzy lounge jazz to tumbling metal-influenced blast beats and instrumental shred. Guided by megaphone-slinging frontman Shacho, credited on their records as “agitator / spirit,” S&P are topflight musicians who are utterly committed to driving dancefloors into fits of hysteria. Almost without question the most stylish act at this year’s Fest, devotees of the party life are already gearing up for an unforgettable night. (July 2)

All OLG After Dark shows are just $20 individually, and are also included with a day or Festival pass. Grab your tickets now online, by phone at 613-241-2633 and in person at the Festival Box Office at 602-294 Albert St., as well as at Compact Music’s two locations on Bank St.!