by / October 26th, 2016 /

Preview: Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2016

Justin Kauflin (The Everyman Theatre, 8pm, Friday 28th)

Having lost his sight at the age of eleven to a retinal disease, music took on new depths and meaning for this gifted young pianist. His compositions infuse the traditional trio set up with a modern twist, with heartfelt and melodic passages woven subtly into the fabric of each piece. Mentored by the late, great Clark Terry and hailed by Quincy Jones as a “simply beautiful cat”, Kauflin continues to gather accolades with every passing year. Check out his most recent album Dedication, featuring the track below, a tribute to his late mentor.

Jacob Collier (The Everyman Theatre, 8pm, Friday 28th)

Sharing the stage with Justin Kauflin as part of the opening night double-bill is another prodigious young musician with a style all of his own. Collier’s not just an amazing jazz pianist, but a vocalist, bassist, drummer and more. At the age of twenty-two his mastery of the craft is astonishing and his live performance showcases these skills to the fullest. Since releasing his first youtube videos in 2011 he has won the admiration of jazz greats from Herbie Hancock to Chick Corea and has performed with the likes of Corey Henry and the Metropole Orkest, as well as featuring on Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner Volume Two.

Xylouris White (Triskel TDC, 8pm, Friday 28th)

Australian drummer Jim White of Dirty Three fame adds a healthy dose of grimy rock drumming to George Xylouris Cretan folk songs. Their debut album topped the world music charts when it was released in 2014, and their 2016 follow up Black Peak takes no prisoners with its energetic and often manic blend of laouto-rock. If you’re after something filthy and unique this weekend then this is where its at. Support comes from Dublin-based, Waterford native, Katie Kim whose new album Salt is reviewed here.

Robert Glasper (The Everyman Theatre, 8pm, Saturday 29th)

Having studied at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary music in New York, Glasper became heavily involved in both the jazz and hip-hop scenes in the city, working with the likes of Mos Def, J Dilla, Talib Kweli and Kanye West, while also heading up his own jazz trio. After a number of critically acclaimed jazz releases featuring his own compositions as well as standards, he launched the Robert Glasper Experiment band to more freely explore fusions with hip-hop and R&B, releasing the Grammy Award winning album Black Radio, and its follow up Black Radio 2. A heavyweight across multiple genres, this is one of the hottest tickets in town.

Not How, When! with special guest Tako (Red Light Records) (Triskel TDC, 9pm, Sat 29th)

If you’re up for some late night DJ action then look no further than the TDC and the Not How, When! birthday celebration. The DJ team have been gigging and hosting parties for the last 8 years in various Cork City venues and to celebrate they’ve invited the inimitable Tako along. Tako Reyenga hails from Amsterdam where he co-founded the excellent Red Light Records, a record shop based in a former brothel in the heart of the city’s red light district. Also one of the founders of the Music From Memory label, you can expect an eclectic mix of funky, upbeat floor-fillers to keep you going until the small hours.


Kurt Rosenwinkel (The Everyman Theatre, 8pm, Sunday 30th)

With ten studio albums under his belt this Rosenwinkel has traversed multiple genres from post-bop to swinging big-band compositions, but always drawing from his own unique palette and exploratory style. A widely revered guitarist he explores tone with his colourful use of effects and techniques. This guitar heavy double-bill also features the pioneering jazz-fusion group The Eleventh House, with the great Alphonse Mouzon on drums, who has worked with a litany of greats including Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey and Weather Report.

King Kong Company (Cork Opera House, 11.30pm, Friday 28th)

Those boxed-in heads can throw a party alright, and if it’s a bit of hedonistic electronica, with a tip of the cap to the glory days of rave you’re after, then look no further than King Kong Company. Taking over Cork Opera House on Friday, 28th October @ 11.30pm, the incredible seven piece will no doubt bring the noise. Air horns at the ready.

Kormac & Daithi (Cyprus Avenue, 11.30pm, Saturday 29th)

Firm State favourite Daithi is teaming up with the ever-reliably intriguing Kormac for a unique audio-visual show. The former, a fiddler with sublime electronica overtones and improv chops, meets the latter, a composer and arranger of extraordinary, eclectic music that pushes the envelope in terms of scope and tone. Not to be pigeonholed, Kormac and Daithi’s show should be seen and heard to be believed.

Booka Brass (Cork Opera House, 11.30pm, Saturday 29th)

Ireland’s answer to the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, this homegrown eight-piece regularly draw in the crowds, and it’s no wonder – Booka Brass have been gathering a reputation for over four years now as a tight-knit, wholly rhythmic unit. Catch them calibrate their horns to stun at Cork Opera House on the 30th.

Jack O’Rourke (The River Lee, 1pm, Sunday 30th)

We recently conducted a bit of a Q&A with piano-man Jack O’Rourke, and it proved that his warm personality is every bit as endearing as his music – a factor that should please the crowd come Sunday the 30th as he performs in The River Lee. Known for his soaring theatrical pop, a la Wainwright and the Divine Comedy, Jack’s gig is one not to miss.


By Dave Desmond & Aaron Drain