Gift of Jazz 2023-07-02T02:19:05+00:00

About The Gift of Jazz

Upcoming Shows

Odyssey Showcase is proud to present:

From Africa to New Orleans to the True North Strong and Free

National Gallery of Canada

Wednesday February 13th
Noon – 1:30 pm – SOLD OUT

Thursday February 14th
Noon – 1:30 pm – SOLD OUT

Thursday February 14th
8:00 pm to 9:30 pm

A musical celebration of Jazz from its African and Gospel roots to modern day expressions including the arrival and influence of Jazz in Canada.

From the cotton fields to the early roots of Gospel music to the more contemporary jazz sounds of today, The Gift of Jazz celebrates the courage, determination, grace and unrelenting spirit of men and women who overcame incredible challenges (such as breaking down the colour barrier) and reflects the history, impact and contributions of these performers on the world of Jazz

Tickets available through Odyssey Showcase by phone at (613) 321-2066 or email at
OR  Eventbrite (Feb 14 – Evening Show Only)

Gift of Jazz Reviews

Words of Praise From Everyday People

  • Raffi and Norman Marks (Montreal Quebec)
    Spectacular show! We were treated to an absolutely stunning evening - both visually and musically, from period costumes to amazing, strong, powerful vocals from Deborah, Michael, and Stefan!!! ….From Africa to present day....a story well told through music. Congratulations to TD and all the members of The Gift of Jazz.
  • Anna and Larry Rubinstein (Ottawa Ontario)
    This is our second year attending performances by Deborah Davis and Odyssey Showcase, and we loved every minute of it. The music lively, the band flawless and the performers kept the audience entertained throughout. This year’s “Gift of Jazz” featured a wonderful selection of amazing songs from the greatest jazz singers of the past century….Deborah, Stefan Keyes, Michael C. Hanna and tap dancer Darin Kyle kept the energy level high, with the audience bouncing to the beat of their songs throughout. There wasn’t a lull in the performance from start to finish. The quality of the music, the dancing and the singing were inspirational.”
  • Floralove Katz (Ottawa, Ontario)
    ...My guests and I enjoyed every song, the singers, the dancers, the actors and speaking notes that framed and contextualized the songs. . . . the backdrops and slides, the Band, lighting, choreography, sound levels - all fabulous! A Terrific show. . . . . it should be repeated each year, and on more than one evening. . . with students invited from every high school in town, to learn something about Black music and history...
  • Naomi Ventura, OCT, Hazel McCallion Sr. P.S., Milton Ontario
    The Gift of Jazz celebrates the profound impact and diversity of black culture and history and portrays a musical story-telling of the contributions of African Americans in the development of music. The Gift of Jazz is engaging, dynamic....and a must see for both families and school groups. As a parent of an 9 year old and 13 year old, I can honestly say they were both fascinated by the production. Afterwards we engaged in wonderful discussions about the lives of African Americans, civil rights, and how mood and experience contributed to the development of different genres of jazz. As a 6th grade teacher, I see The Gift of Jazz" as an educational "gift" for all junior-senior level students. With the wealth of social justice and curricular connections the production provides, it's the perfect support addition to support Black History Month.
  • Audience Member
    The show was a world class professional production. I especially enjoyed singer Michael Hanna and learning from him about his father, legendary jazz artist Roland Hanna, whom I researched after the show, and seeing former world tap dancing champion Darin Kyle. Also exemplary was the seamless combination of narration, lyrics and music and the cohesion of the superb band with the singers. It was especially delightful to see how all the performers were having fun on stage with each other and with the audience. From the renditions of Amazing Grace and Swing Low in the historical context to modern songs like I Love Being Here with You. it was moving, thrilling and memorable to be part of the audience and I was extremely proud to be associated with this performance celebrating Black history month in such a meaningful and entertaining fashion.
  • Vanessa Sutton
    Vanessa Sutton, CPA, CMA, FCIS, General Manager / Directrice générale, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra / L’Orchestre symphonique d’Ottawa
    It was an absolute pleasure to have been present at your production of “A Gift of Jazz”. It was a feast of the senses that covered an impressive spectrum:, an exploration of the roots of jazz to the golden years that included top-notch vocals, dance, and musicianship. This, along with the clever idea to accompany the experience with narration, I couldn’t have expected more from a performance!

Photo credit Alan Dean Photography

Performer Bios

About The Artists

  • Deborah Davis
    Deborah Davis

    Deborah Davis has been singing professionally and creating musical shows and events for more than twenty years. She headlined The Ottawa International Jazz Festival’s family day in 1994, 1995 and 1997 with her show What is This Thing Called Jazz?

    In 2000, Davis created Satin Dolls, a show which portrayed the life and times of the greatest women of American jazz. The Gift Of Jazz production is based on the highly successful Satin Dolls, which played to sold-out houses in Ottawa at the Canadian Tulip Festival, the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage and, in adapted formats, has highlighted corporate and charitable events in Toronto as well as Ottawa.

    Davis is also the creator and master-mind behind a number of successful productions including Canada Roars – A Musical Taste of our Canadian Heritage/Notre patrimoine canadien, une odyssée musicale, the longest running bilingual concert show in Canada and the only show of its kind in North America. Now in its sixteenth season, this artistically vibrant ninety-minute production celebrates and pays tribute to the history of music in Canada. It features fifty performers including musicians, lead and back-up singers, Aboriginal performers, contemporary, step, and highland dancers and actors.

    Deborah appreciates that it takes a team of dedicated professionals to make these projects successful and is quick to acknowledge the immense contributions of her entire team, particularly Peter Beaudoin, Musical Director and drummer, who has supported her visions from day one. 

  • Peter Beaudoin
    Musical Director/Percussion
    Peter Beaudoin
    Musical Director/Percussion

    Peter has over thirty years of experience as a musician, drummer and band leader. He has also completed nine Canadian Forces world show tours, to Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Dubai. He has had an impressive career as a respected and well sought after performer and recording musician with numerous world class Canadian and international artists including Harry Chapin, Petula Clark, Rita Coolidge  and James Moody to name a few. Peter has been working with Deborah Davis since 1997 on a number of projects as Musical Director including Satin Dolls, What is this Thing Called Jazz, Canada Roars and the Canadian Musical Odyssey Ensemble.

  • Gino Scaffidi
    Gino Scaffidi

    In addition to being a guitarist for the RCMP Concert Band and traveling for more than twenty years, Gino has performed ceremonial music concerts for Governor Generals, the Prime Minister and various local and visiting heads of states.   Some of his performing highlights include; performances for the Queen of England and their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, Collaborations with Canadian entertainers David Foster, Celine Dion, Rick Little, Paul Anka, and The Canadian Brass. Gino has been with Canada Roars and the Canadian Musical Odyssey Ensemble since 2003.

  • Martin Newman
    Martin Newman

    Martin first took up the bass guitar in grade 9 music class at Samuel-Genest high school. After graduating from grade 12, he bought a double bass and studied privately with former Ottawa bassist Steve Watson for about a year. He is otherwise self-taught. His professional playing career began in earnest in 1989 with a five month stint in the show band on a cruise ship travelling around Europe. The gig involved accompanying performers from solo singers, to a singing, dancing Broadway review, to ventriloquism and juggling acts. This is typical of his career ever since. From bars to supermarkets to theatre and festival stages. From cocktail jazz to full tilt rock and roll with a variety of folk music in between. From Latin-American to French-Canadian. Martin has done it all. Martin was part of the very first production of A Musical Taste of our Canadian Heritage, and this year is back again with the Canadian Musical Odyssey Ensemble.

  • Darin Kyle
    Lead dancer tap
    Darin Kyle
    Lead dancer tap

    Darin Kyle resides in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a Canadian grown talent heavily involved in the dance industry since the age of 12, accumulating training in Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Hip Hop. Darin has twice represented Canada at the World Tap Dance Championships, becoming a double Gold medalist and the only Canadian man to become World Solo Champion.  Since then he has spent time-sharing his unique groove in education and performance across Canada. Darin has also attained a bachelor’s degree in Classical History and a Diploma in Developmental Services. Darin has been working with the Satin Dolls and Canada Roars productions since 2009.

  • René Lavoie
    René Lavoie

    René began pęaying the saxophone in high school at the age of fourteen. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Ottawa and his Masters degree in jazz studies and pedagogy at the University of Miami.  He also studied in New York City with Joe Allard and Eddy Daniels.  Some of his strongest influences include Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Michael Brecker, Phil Woods and John Coltrane.  Highlights from his career include performing with Jean Beaudet, Rob McConnell, Dave Leibman and Guido Basso.

  • Ed Bimm
    Keyboards & vocals
    Ed Bimm
    Keyboards & vocals

    With thirty-five years in the music and entertainment business, Ed Bimm started his career at age fifteen when he formed his first band.  A much sought after session player, Ed has recorded and toured with well known Canadian and international artists including Susan Aglukark, Charlie Major, Ian Tamblyn, Les Emmerson, Sneezy Waters, Randall Prescott, Wayne Rostad, The Cooper Brothers and Family Brown. As well as writing music for CBC, CTV Ottawa and the National Film Board of Canada, Ed spent two years in Los Angeles doing session and recording work with various artists. In addition to his music interests, Ed is always keeping up with the latest in computerized electronic instrumentation and equipment.   Ed has been working with the Canadian Musical Odyssey Ensemblesince July 2001, and can be seen every Thursday as part of the Johnny Vegas Orchestra.  In summary, Ed Bimm is a multi-talented artist whose style can be described as “versatile” from Classical to rock and everything in between.

  • Michael Curtis Hanna
    Vocalist and Musician
    Michael Curtis Hanna
    Vocalist and Musician

    Michael was blessed with the unique life experience of living in a community with Sarah Vaughn, Al Hibler, Thad Jones, Nat Adderly and a host of noted musicians around the corner from his home. Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey he was immersed in much of the changing musical landscape of the past 50 years.

    Finding Jesus and Gospel music Michael sang in church choirs from Detroit to Ottawa. As a solo vocalist, Michael toured with and for his father, the late Sir Roland Hanna in the United States and Japan. Having a fondness for male vocal harmony, Michael nurtured this love of singing with male a cappella groups including the Canadian Men’s Chorus of Toronto.

    Michael currently manages Rahanna Music Inc., and has developed over 300 compositions of Sir Roland Hanna. He can also be found on several CD’s in addition to performing in Ottawa and abroad.