Ottawa Jazz Orchestra

Canada's symphonic jazz orchestra

About the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra

The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra (OJO), based in Ottawa and founded in 2006, brings together many of Canada’s finest professional jazz and symphony orchestra musicians under the direction of bassist Adrian Cho. This unique ensemble has garnered kudos from both critics and audiences for its highly entertaining, innovative and educational presentations of seminal jazz-centric music performed by a wide range of ensembles including small chamber jazz groups, repertory orchestras, neophonic orchestras and a full symphonic jazz orchestra.

Each year the OJO performs a full season of concerts at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Additionally, the orchestra has performed many times at the invitation of event organisers including the National Capital Commission, the City of Ottawa, and various festivals.

About the music we perform

The OJO’s broad repertoire of music includes original compositions; the gamut of jazz and pre-jazz repertory from as far back as 1850; and jazz-influenced neoclassical works. This extends far beyond what most typical “big bands” perform.

Over the years, the OJO has performed a huge range of seminal jazz music including the major Gil Evans and Miles Davis suites, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead, the Johnny Richards suites Cuban Fire and My Fair Lady, My Way, the Duke Ellington suites including Such Sweet Thunder, Nutcracker, Peer Gynt, Far East Suite, Liberian Suite, and selections from all three of the Sacred Concerts, Eddie Sauter’s Focus suite written for Stan Getz, and much more. The OJO specializes in authentic performance of early swing music including Ellington’s music of the Cotton Club as well as third-stream music in its many forms. Additionally the OJO has performed many original arrangements and compositions, many penned by OJO musicians including trumpeter Rick Rangno, and bassist Adrian Cho.

Hire our musicians for your private events!

Our roster includes most of the top jazz musicians in the capital region. We regularly put together groups for private events. Contact us if you’d like to chat about live jazz for your event.

2024 Season @ the National Arts Centre

The OJO’s current season is a shorter one, heralding the orchestra’s return to the stage after the pandemic. We’re also hard at work planning for a full 2024-2025 season.

Saturday, January 20, 2024, 4 PM and 8 PM

Swing Sensation

The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra returns to the National Arts Centre and kicks off its 2024 season with an evening of fabulous swing music featuring seminal works originally performed by legendary bandleaders Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.

Join a quintet from the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra spotlighting the virtuosity of clarinetist David Renaud and special guest vibraphonist from Montreal, François Stevenson. They will be backed by the trio of Mark Ferguson on piano, Adrian Cho on double bass, and Mark Rehder on drums.

Buy tickets to this show online, at the NAC Box Office in person, or by calling (613) 947-7000 x620.

Thursday, March 14, 2024, 8 PM

Go Go Groove

Join seven musicians from the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra as they dig into the grooviest, funkiest, feel-good soul jazz tunes from the books of Duke Pearson, Lee Morgan, Cannonball Adderley, Charles Mingus, and more. You can be sure the joint will be jumping when this band brings back the boogaloo!


Ed Lister, trumpet
Sandy Gordon, alto saxophone and flute
David Renaud, tenor saxophone and flute
Mark Ferguson, trombone and organ
Mike Manny, piano
Adrian Cho, double bass
Mark Rehder, drums

Buy tickets to this show online, at the NAC Box Office in person, or by calling (613) 947-7000 x620.

Saturday, April 20, 2024, 4 PM and 8 PM

Big Band Bash

The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra brings back the big band with two sets of swinging songs that will have you smiling and tapping your toes all evening.

The first set will recall the sounds of the Cotton Club and Harlem speakeasies featuring music by Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and more. Savour this rarely performed music that will truly transport you back to the golden age of jazz.

The second set will have you dancing in your seats as vocalist Diane Nalini and the band perform stellar arrangements penned by such legends as Bill Holman, Billy May, Count Basie, Billy Strayhorn, Nelson Riddle, and Buddy Bregman, for the great jazz vocalists Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae.

Jazz singer and songwriter Diane Nalini started singing at the age of three. Born in Montreal to Belgian and Goan parents, she sings and writes songs in four languages (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish) and has released five wide ranging and warmly received albums. An accomplished songwriter, composer, and lyricist, Diane has written or co-written songs that have been used in major Hollywood releases, indie films, television shows and video games. “She captures jazz at its most sophisticated and joyous level,” writes Elle Magazine Canada. “I just love Diane Nalini’s voice. This is a sassy, ‘ripe plum in the Italian sun’ kind of voice… She has such sweet and effortless pitch, it’s beautiful.” (Katie Malloch, CBC radio’s Jazzbeat and Tonic).

Buy tickets to this show online, at the NAC Box Office in person, or by calling (613) 947-7000 x620.



The video clips below include performances from a 2018 tribute to Billy Strayhorn featuring vocalist Diane Nalini, and selections from a 2010 presentation of Duke Ellington‘s Sacred Concerts with special guests Capital Vox and soloists Doreen Taylor Claxton, soprano, Marcus Nance, bass-baritone and Melissa Roy, tap dancer.


All of these live recordings from past concerts are archival quality and not intended for redistribution. We hope you enjoy listening!

  1. Portrait of Louis Armstrong (New Orleans Suite III) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Rick Rangno (trumpet) 2:59
  2. Fontainebleau Ottawa Jazz Chamber Orchestra 4:53
  3. Avalon Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring David Renaud (clarinet) 3:08
  4. Bluebird of Delhi (Mynah) (Far East Suite II) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring David Renaud (clarinet) 3:10
  5. Isfahan (Far East Suite III) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Sandy Gordon (alto saxophone) 3:52
  6. Amad (Far East Suite VIII) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Moe Wozniak (trombone) 4:22
  7. Springsville (Miles Ahead I) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Lina Allemano (trumpet) 3:21
  8. Blues for Pablo (Miles Ahead VI) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Lina Allemano (trumpet) 5:43
  9. New Rhumba (Miles Ahead VII) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Lina Allemano (trumpet) 4:34
  10. The Meaning of the Blues (Miles Ahead VIII) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Lina Allemano (trumpet) 2:41
  11. Lament (Miles Ahead IX) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Lina Allemano (trumpet) 2:12
  12. Arab Dance Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Sandy Gordon (alto saxophone) and Scott Poll (clarinet) 5:13
  13. Paganini Caprice XXIV Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Laura Nerenberg (violin) 3:26
  14. Tres Corazones (Cuban Fire VII) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra 3:21
  15. Chicago Concerto - Stomp (IV) Ottawa Jazz Orchestra featuring Mike Tremblay (baritone saxophone) 4:49
  16. Burrito Borracho Ottawa Jazz Orchestra 4:00


Feel free to contact us for any information about season concerts and other performances. Our musicians are available to play at private events. Send us a message if you’d like to chat about live jazz for your event.