Who’s in the Band?

There are many hidden layers of gems inside the bands performing at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. Dig deep and you will find consummate musicians integral to the sound, groove, vibe and the magic of the experience…

Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman

Shahzad Ismaily

Arooj Aftab – Vijay Iyer – Shahzad Ismaily : Love in Exile
June 28th, 2023 at 9:00pm, National Arts Centre’s Azrieli Studio

Well-known for his collaborations with a number of high-profile songwriters, multi-instrumentalist and producer Shahzad Ismaily has also released solo albums. Besides being able to play a number of instruments, he has a rare gift of helping artists reach a new plane of creativity. Shahzad will be performing with Arooj Aftab and Vijay Iyer on June 28th, and is also a large fixture on Feist’s new album. Feist will be opening the festival June 23rd. 

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Photo by Hudson Music

Bill Stewart

John Scofield Trio
June 29th, 2023 at 7:00pm & 9:00pm, National Arts Centre’s Azrieli Studio

A prominent jazz drummer since the 1990s when he first began playing with John Scofield, Bill Stewart is known for his dynamic and creative drumming style. Bill has also played with everyone from Pat Metheny, Dave Holland and Michael Brecker, to James Brown and Maceo Parker. Bill has one of the most identifiable sounds on the drums with a sense of clarity and a melodic approach to playing. Check out Bill in this video.

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Photo by Alan Nahigian

Herbie Hancock’s Band

Herbie Hancock
June 30th, 2023 at 8:30pm, Confederation Park Main Stage

Every time Herbie Hancock performs, besides the incredible experience of seeing this legend in person, you can be sure that the band will be absolutely stellar. His upcoming show at Ottawa Jazz Festival is no exception!

Terence Blanchard is not only an incredible trumpet player – with 5 Grammys under his belt, he has also played with everyone under the sun!

Lionel Loueke is a guitarist from Benin and was a discovery of Herbie Hancock early on when Lionel was in the Thelonious Monk Institute. Lionel treated the guitar from the perspective of a percussionist and a singer and left to his own, he sounds like an African orchestra. Lionel is also playing duo with Gretchen Parlato on June 27th.  

James Genus is one of the top call bassists, holding the bass chair on Saturday Night Live. He has played bass with everyone from Horace Silver to Chick Corea to Daft Punk.

Justin Tyson is from a new generation of drummers inspired by hip hop, with impressive ability on the kit. Justin has played with Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding amongst many others.

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Walter Smith III and Matthew Stevens: IN COMMON featuring Kendrick Scott and Reuben Rogers

June 29th, 2023 at 9:00pm, National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage

This is another one of those bands that is stacked with monster musicians that have experienced career success individually. Matt Stevens, originally from Toronto, was a longtime bandmate of Christian Scott, Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding. Matt is an incredible guitarist but also an inspiring human being that everyone wants in the band.

Walter Smith Jr III has played in the bands of Roy Haynes, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian McBride, among others… enough said?

Reuben Rogers also has a pretty impressive list of bandmates including Joshua Redman, Lionel Loueke, Nicholas Payton, Dianne Reeves, and many, many more.

Lastly, Kendrick Scott at the drums is a member of the Charles Lloyd Quartet, has also played with Robert Glasper, among others, and as a bandleader has released albums with on the one and only Blue Note Records. 

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