Tag Archives: Jazz

Cantares at the NAC: A Latin Jazz Journey with Claudia Salguero

An edited version of this review was published by Apt613.ca

Our Apartment 613 contributor caught up with musician and visual artist Claudia Salguero in the run up to Cantares, her 6th annual Latin Jazz concert at the National Arts Centre.

A collaborative multi-cultural effort, Salguero will present a range of hand-picked Latin Jazz songs and be joined on stage by 10 musicians from nine different countries including: Peru, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, Chili, Brazil, Great Britain, Togo and the US.

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Salguero and musicians in concert

A traveller herself, Salguero hails from Columbia making Ottawa her home since 2001 while “never forgetting her roots.” Speaking of Bogota, Salguero shared “We grew up dancing and listening to music. We have it in our blood” and it is this gift, her love of Latin Jazz, that will be showcased at her concert.

Her expansive artistic scope and embrace of cultural diversity has guided Salguero’s curation of the program. Audiences can expect music beyond the familiar salsa and merengue strains and look forward to romantically emotive boleros, explore the African and Spanish roots of Latin Jazz and take in Latin-styled interpretations of North American jazz classics.  “It is not all Latin American music. I love old jazz and you will hear universally familiar classics interpreted in a Latin America style. “

“I sing songs that have meaning to me and that transport me.” Salguero has hand-picked compositions that deeply moved her, that are rich in emotions and that steeped in cultural history.

And it isn’t simply the music that elevates this performance but the dialogue that Salguero brings as she expounds on the compositions; their origin, the instruments on stage and her personal interpretations of the songs. “Though I sing mostly in Spanish I explain every song, what is happening in the narrative and why it touches me.” As the instruments change with the songs it provides a further opportunity to engage the accompanying musicians in the dialogue and deepen the experience for audiences as countries of origin and meanings are explored.

“Every song is different from the last. People like that and the interaction and conversations with the musicians on stage.” said Salguero, “Many people share that they come to the concert with an expectation of Latin American music and leave with a new and fuller understanding of the music, the countries, the instruments and the stories.”

Salguero is flattered by the interest and attendance at her concerts which are frequently sold-out and the opportunity it provides for her and the other musicians.  As such, a portion the proceeds are donated to further the advancement of artistic talents back in Bogota.  Salguero has always selected a foundation to donate to and for a 2nd year the proceeds will go to Casa Taller Las Moyas, a charity in the impoverished Barrio San Luis that promotes and teaches music, art, cooking and other skills to underprivileged children.

“We chose this charity as it mirrors my outreach as an artist here in Ottawa. I work in different communities to bring the artistic experience to low income children and neighbourhoods.  My projects are often about creating art objects, be it a mural or piece of visual art, with the idea that “art creates a better society.” Participants learn about equipment, techniques and produce a tangible work that is a lasting part of their community. This outreach is about empowerment and belonging while learning a skill that hopefully leads to further work.  When I visited Casa Taller Las Moyas, saw their work and the impact they were having on these children the fit was obvious.

Cantares” Salguero summarises, “is a professional, polished and elegant night of Latin Jazz” with the added bonus of a musical and educational resonance that crosses borders.

Claudia Salguero – CANTARES
May 28, 2016
NAC – Studio

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Jazz Legends light up NAC’s Night at the Cotton Club

An edited version of this review was published by Apt613.ca

Our Apartment 613 contributor spoke with conductor and Night at the Cotton Club co-creator Jeff Tyzik at his home in New York.

Tyzik promises to take Ottawa back in time to a Harlem sparkling with the top entertainers of the 1920s and 30s. The gifted guest conductor will take the reins from Shelley for three nights transforming the NAC orchestra in a “truly unique experience”. “We set up the entire evening and transform the stage in to the historic Cotton Club by arranging the orchestra in a horseshoe configuration, adding in a saxophone section and leaving ample space centre stage for world-class soloists.”

Cotton Club poster

And these soloists promise to dazzle. It was with renown trumpeter and vocalists Byron Stripling, who has toured with Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman and more that Tyzik was compelled to create the show.

“When Byron and I created this show it wasn’t just that it was a good idea. It was love of the era and of the Cotton Club, it was the knowledge that with our own connections to the jazz masters of the past we could bring history back. The creation of Night at the Cotton Club took on an importance capturing our imaginations and it is why we do the show the way we do it: partial tribute and partial living historical document to the times and the music.“

“All the music is from the prohibition years from 1926-1932 spanning the era of the Cotton Club’s in-house Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway orchestras. The show is incredibly fast paced.” In keeping with the original club’s fast and furious floorshows where Lena Horne and Josephine Baker brought sizzle and style Tyzik promises “action every few minutes. The rules aren’t the same as in a classical concert. We embrace spontaneous feedback and reactions – it’s a different vibe.“

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Ted Louis Levy

One performer who promises to ignite the room is tap great Ted Louis Levy; protégé of Gregory Hines, Emmy award winner, Tony award nominee and world-famous dancer, choreographer and vocalist. Like Tyzik and Stripling Levy provides a direct connection with Jazz history having trained and danced with masters such as Jimmy Slyde.

Jeff Tyzik

Jeff Tyzik

Tyzik tells us “The performers are a direct link to the greatest masters that came before them. They are not just trained; these people are the real deal. When audiences hear them perform they are but one step away from the jazz greats.”

Carmen Bradford is a star with remarkable jazz lineage. The vocalist sang with the Count Basie Orchestra and a breathtaking array of famous names including James Brown, Lou Rawls, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Herbie Hancock, Frank Sinatra. A story Tyzik shared that trivia buffs will love is that “it was Bradford’s disc found in Ella Fitzgerald’s CD player when the legendary singer passed away.”

Tyzik touched on the innovation of the era reflected in the music and the culture of the time. “Through our respect for the integrity of the music we are bringing back that originality and excitement.” said Tyzik The music remains relevant today and through their connection to the time and respect for the music’s integrity they are sharing a cultural and musical legacy.

“It doesn’t get any closer than this.”

Night at the Cotton Club
28-30 April, 2016 8PM
National Arts Centre – Southam Hall