City top jazz fest? – Metro US

City top jazz fest?

Should Montreal stand down?

An exceptionally strong roster of performers this year has Ottawa International Jazz Festival organizers flirting with the idea that perhaps the city’s event is outpacing the Montreal Jazz Festival.

“We’ve managed to pull off the most impressive collection of jazz in history,” executive producer Catherine O’Grady said.

From the traditional to the avant-garde, the festival is expected to draw 175,000 to the city over 12 days for performances by heavyweights of the genre.

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra kick things off tomorrow at Confederation Park. Grammy Award winner Herbie Hancock (album of the year), Chick Corea, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and Gladys Knight are all playing this year’s festival.

“We’ve got all the jazz greats here at one time,” she said.

The festival is held in dozens of venues across the city. There are free shows, which will ease newcomers into the world of jazz at the World Exchange Plaza, the Rideau Centre, Confederation Park’s Elgin Street Stage and during the Canada Day festivities. For the second year this Sunday, Youth Day, devoted to sharing talents of local young people, is expected to be popular, O’Grady said.

“It’s a day to celebrate the fabulous young talent we have in the community,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest among teenagers for jazz. We’ve sold a record number of student passes this year.”
The festival runs ‘til July 1.