Wanted: Venues for Local Jazz Groups
Jazz music venues are difficult to find on the SouthCoast as a result of the pandemic, but like the phoenix rising from the COVID-19 ashes, the Nina Ott Quintet has been booked solid.
Nina Ott Quintet has played to audiences large and intimately small, in concert settings, public libraries, churches, country clubs, private corporate parties and in the living room of larger homes, where the host invites guests to enjoy the very unique blend of music.
A Detroit native, Ott grew up in a musical family. She started playing at age seven and has a degree in classical piano performance. Later, as a young jazz pianist, Ott cut her teeth in Chicago playing alongside drummer George Fludas, bassist John Whitfield, guitarist Jeff Parker and sax player Pat Mallinger.
Both Ott and her husband, Chris Lopes, are virtuosos who’ve composed hundreds, if not thousands, of Latin jazz compositions. Like Ott, Lopes has been playing, writing and recording music for nearly four decades, and is adept at straight ahead jazz and free jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, funk, reggae and blues.
“We played at this library a couple of weeks ago in Norwell, and the audience was so into it! It was mind-boggling, and quite honestly, we were caught off guard by the phenomenal response,” said the Latin jazz pianist.
“Our concerts mostly include vibrant original Latin jazz scores and feature instruments that revive one’s spirits. Playing a small venue brings people together from many different cultures. You can close your eyes, and be swept away, or you can open your eyes and want to dance, and have both worlds satisfied,” said Lopes, bassist and percussionist.
“We’re performing at the Stage Door Live series at the Zeiterion, this Thursday evening, April 20," Ott said.
Joining them on stage is Bertram Lehmann, one of the top experts on Caribbean and South American drum set practice; Edmar Colón, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and educator; and Manolo Mairena on percussion.
“As a sneak preview, we’ll be performing a lot of our original compositions, along with a tribute to the late great Wayne Shorter, recipient of 12 Grammy Awards. He was acclaimed for his mastery of the soprano saxophone. We’ll also pay homage to my hero, Thelonious Monk, considered one of the most significant pioneers of modern jazz because of his unique signature playing style, and improvisational, playful, percussive, skillful technique, and legendary collaborations.”
Imagine hosting a live Latin jazz concert in your home or backyard with 40 or 50 of your friends. It’s easier than you think.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to live Latin jazz, also called Afro-Cuban jazz, that blends rhythms and percussion instruments of Cuba and the Spanish Caribbean with jazz, catch the Nina Ott Quintet in concert – or better yet, invite them over your place for a night you and your friends will never forget.
Go to NinaOttMusic.com to learn more, and listen to the interview in the podcast below: