Ottawa Jazz Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ottawa Jazz Festival
Ottawa Jazz Festival - Confederation Park.jpg
Ottawa Jazz Festival - Confederation Park
DatesAugust 19 - 22, 2021
Location(s)Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Years active1980–present

Adaptable and resilient, for more than 40 years as the 2nd oldest Canadian jazz festival and longest running music event in Ontario, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues to present the jazz world’s most renowned and celebrated artists.

Unlike past jazz festivals, this year, due to COVID-19 and the safety of everyone involved, the Festival will unfold in a new way from August 19 – 22.

We will continue our innovative exploration of producing and streaming stunning, high quality online concerts. And a vast number of free pop-up concerts will be offered around the city at several traditional and non-traditional venues.

More details will be announced as they become available. In the meantime, please visit our website for updates.



What began as a weekend of outdoor jazz in Major’s Hill Park back in 1980 has evolved into one of the National Capital Region’s most highly anticipated musical events of the summer.

The Ottawa Jazz Festival was founded in 1980 by local musicians Bob Misener and Tony Pope –subsequently joined by the late Bill Shuttleworth – who wanted to throw a summertime jazz festival to celebrate and develop the popular jazz scene in Ottawa. Jazz festivals were still a relatively new phenomenon in Canadian cities, and there really was no grand design behind Ottawa’s first edition.

The Festival grew quickly, attracting such international names as Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Herb Ellis, Bob Brookmeyer, Wynton Marsalis and Milt Jackson. Larger and larger crowds came out each year, and the Festival began to stretch beyond traditional jazz and attract new supporters. Expanding beyond its outdoor venue the Festival ventured into indoor satellite events and the late night jam sessions that are so popular today.

By the mid-1980s the Festival’s organizational direction was shaped by Programming Manager Jacques Émond and Doug McNab took over the volunteer brigade. More and more big names were booked, including Sonny Rollins, Jack DeJohnette and Ornette Coleman. In 1989, the Festival moved to its own stage in Confederation Park.


In the 1990s, the Festival’s programming began to reflect Jacques’ love of big band music and West Coast jazz, and the Festival’s loyal fan base grew to trust and appreciate his choices, as well as the broad spectrum of artists he would bring to the Festival each year. Jacques is also well known for his ability to spot up-and-comers, and brought such artists as Diana Krall, D.D. Jackson and Dave Douglas to festival-goers long before they were signed to major labels or featured in mainstream media. The Festival’s focus on Canadian talent has also never wavered, and features approximately 300 domestic artists in the lineup each year.

Catherine O’Grady took over as Executive Producer of the Festival in 1996, and with the combined efforts of the Board of Directors, the contribution of the community, and good management practices, the Festival has since become financially solvent and has seen an audience increase of 300%. The Festival’s big break came with the programming of Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra during the 1999 Festival.

2000 – 2009[edit]

That was followed up with two major sold-out concerts at Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre as part of the Festival’s 20th anniversary celebrations, which featured the first year-round jazz programming. In October 2000, there was a performance by the Buena Vista Social Club, followed by the return of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2001. Tickets for each event sold out in record time and the Festival has never looked back.

It exists to advance the appreciation and knowledge of all music, in particular jazz, by programming music that richly underscores the continuing creativity and diversity of the artists and the music itself.

2010 – present[edit]

Ottawa Jazz Festival 2017 - Photo by: Chris Parker

In 2010 the Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary of consecutive programming, boasting the largest loyal audience of its kind in eastern Ontario.

Over the years, the Jazz Festival has presented some of the most dynamic jazz artists on the scene, from the traditional to the avant-garde, such as Herbie Hancock, Salif Keita, Dave Brubeck, Pink Martini, Roy Haynes, Toots Thielemans, Branford Marsalis, Béla Fleck, Kenny Werner, Stanley Jordan, Terence Blanchard, Diana Krall, D.D. Jackson, Maynard Ferguson, and John Mayall – to name only a few. Other headliners and legends include: Aretha Franklin, Robert Plant, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Brian Wilson, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Kenny Rogers, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and Charles Bradley.

By presenting great music to our audience from both emerging and established repertoire, we aspire to make the arts inclusive in people’s everyday lives, thereby adding an intrinsic richness and purpose. In 2018, the Festival’s total attendance was 241,000, proving just how popular a destination it is for tourists and local audiences alike.

The Festival experienced a passing of the guard as Jacques Émond retired in 2010 and Petr Cancura was appointed as the new Programming Manager early in 2011. Petr is only the second programming manager in its 32 years.

The Ottawa Jazz Festival is the premier music event to take place in downtown Ottawa and we are proud to be part of the continuing tradition of bringing jazz to the National Capital Region. Set on a bold path, trailblazing the most dynamic programming and innovations the Festival continues to present the finest musicians from across Canada and around the world in all genres and inspirations of Jazz.

External links[edit]

  • Ottawa Jazz Festival official website
  • [1] "Ottawa Citizen - Ottawa Jazz Festival a Wild Few Days of Music and All That Jazz"
  • [2] "Exclaim! Review - Tanya Tagaq - TD Ottawa Jazz Festival - June 28, 2018"
  • [3] "Narcity - 30 things to do in Ottawa that you have to add to your winter bucket list"
  • [4] "CBC All in a Day Segment with Alan Neal"
  • [5] "Ottawa Citizen - Jazz Festival Review - Brian Wilson Takes Audience Back in Time on 50th Birthday of Pet Sounds Album"
  • [6] "Ottawa Jazz Festival announces Main Stage lineup for 2013: music of every style"
  • [7] "Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 lineup: what's on"
  • [8] "Remembering Jacques Emond's life-long love of jazz"
  • [9] "Jazzfest 2012: Younger and a bit jazzier but definitely covered (an analysis)"
  • [10] "Controversy over non-jazz acts reaches Ottawa Jazz Festival Annual Meeting"