I’ve been performing music since I was very young. I love listening to music and studying music, playing music with others, and sharing music with audiences. You can read my music bio but basically I play double bass, and some other instruments, lead the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, and also work as a freelance bassist with other ensembles.
While I love many styles of music, jazz has been a big part of my life for a long time. I gravitated to jazz not just because of the sound but because jazz is one of the most democratic and creative forms of music.
In 2005, not long after I moved to Canada, I began a series of initiatives to present jazz at scale in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. These would eventually become the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, a unique, critically acclaimed symphonic jazz ensemble that brings together an impressive array of professional jazz and symphony musicians with a focus on both entertaining and educating.
In addition to leading and performing with the orchestra, I sometimes perform with other ensembles in the Ottawa area or in other cities.
Cho’s intentions were clearly to educate as much as entertain, and he succeeded on both fronts.
Cho a cool guide to hot jazz…You couldn’t have asked for a better guide to the music.
There is only one Wynton Marsalis, but Ottawa may have lucked out with its own individualist, Adrian Cho… Cho himself has more than little of the evangelist in him… It’s not hard to imagine him in a boardroom persuading business executives to let a little jazz into their deal-making, to feel the beat and let it carry them into more exhilarating commerce… One of Cho’s convictions is that jazz is humanizing, not only for business people. To that end, he believes in guiding his audiences towards deeper appreciation…
His work is always well received. His aims and ideals are high and he consistently achieves them.
I was MOST impressed with the fabulous musicianship and of course your innovative ideas and leadership throughout. I truly think that you are a gifted teacher
He cares deeply about bringing jazz to the people, and seeks to entertain his audiences. He also cares a lot about the history of jazz, and educating the public about the range of jazz music. His energy and enthusiasm carry the message in an engaging way, and many audience members have told me that they enjoyed learning about the pieces they were about to hear because it greatly enhanced their listening experience. Adrian’s also one of the few organizers I’ve worked with who seems to excel both in preparing a large-scale event, and also in adapting to new developments with creativity and a smile.
I have always been struck by his innovativeness and deep commitment to excellence. Adrian regularly produces one-of-a-kind productions using only the top local talent and does so with the flair of a natural-born leader.
Is it time that we start referring to Adrian as the Wynton Marsalis of Ottawa?
A musical missionary, Adrian Cho always seems to have his fingers in a dozen pies. This spring alone, the Ottawa jazz bassist and bandleader premiered a bass and piano work written by composer Eldon Rathburn, recorded a solo bass soundtrack for a dance film, will perform Jewish Sephardic folk music, improvise on the bass for a dance show, play at a wine-tasting dinner and present jazz vespers in a Lutheran church. That’s not a complete list. It does not include the activity for which Cho is best known — leading the Impressions in Jazz Orchestra (IJO), an ambitious repertory ensemble he founded in 2005 to perform a broad range of what he calls “jazz-centric music,” taken from sources as far back as the 1850s up to the present day.
Adrian is both a visionary and true collaborator.
In 2017 I took up flamenco guitar and in doing so I was also taking up guitar. Jumping straight into the world of flamenco guitar without having a solid grounding in classical guitar has made it a challenge but that’s precisely what I wanted. The rhythms and forms of flamenco are very different to jazz and most other styles of music I’ve played before but I really enjoy trying to internalise them. I’d love to get good enough to study flamenco guitar in Spain sometime in the future.