Now in its fifth year, Down With Jazz is a weekend festival run by the Improvised Music Company that takes place this Saturday and Sunday of the June weekend in Meeting House Square. Readers may be familiar with the IMC’s other mini jazz festivals that run annually, like the excellent 12 Points festival at the Project Arts Centre or last year’s pop-up jazz club at the Peacock Theatre called Strut.
Over the years the events promotion company has helped nurture promising young jazz acts and introduce Irish performers to European audiences via its biennial overseas editions of 12 Points. This festival’s title, Down With Jazz, is a reference to the anti-jazz movement of the 1930s when members of The Gaelic League sought to ban the music, ultimately culminating in De Valera’s Public Dance Halls Act 1935.
With the earliest jazz recordings estimated to have been cut circa 1916, this year’s festival celebrates a centenary of a musical form that has been continuously evolving ever since, as well as the freedom of expression it embodies.
Down With Jazz features a host of Irish acts over its two days, including jazz vocalist Edel Meade, the two-horns-no-chords quartet ReDiviDeR and the London based group Snowpoet (pictured), led by the award-winning Irish vocalist Lauren Kinsella, who also performed at last year’s Strut with her other group Blue Eyed Hawk.
The excellent Zazka also makes an appearance on the Sunday line up with his original funk compositions and tremendous band, and for a more traditionally modelled quintet the renowned Irish saxophonist Richie Buckley heads an impressive line-up of musicians including Phil Ware on piano and Kevin Brady on drums.
For €15 a day or €25 for the weekend pass, you can’t really go wrong. Not to mention the weather forecast is looking good too!