It’s that time of year again, with the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year. It should come as no surprise for regular festival goers that the main hub of activity for the seasoned swingers is the Everyman Theatre, where the serious musos can listen unperturbed to veterans of the genre such as Kenny Garrett or Dee Dee Bridgewater, on the Saturday and Sunday night. Garrett shares the Everyman stage with keyboardist and trumpeter Nicholas Payton (pictured) who performs his Afro-Carribean Mixtape album released this year. Expect notes of hip-hop infused modern jazz in what promises to be a festival highlight. Fans of Miles Davis’ should hit up the Everyman on Friday night as bassist Gary Crosby and his London based Nu Troop perform Davis’ seminal album Kind of Blue in a double-bill alongside Australian pianist and vocalist Sarah McKenzie.
The Opera House provides the usual escape for those trying to avoid jazz entirely, with mainstream acts like Imelda May, Booka Brass Band and King Kong Company taking over the historic city centre theatre. While, the laidback continental jazz of the Michael Wollny Trio warms up the Triskel Christchurch, alongside local act Notify and the Dublin based Sue Rynhart Trio.
The new addition of “Ronnie Scott’s Room” at the Metropole Festival Club promises to restore a hint of the glory days for that venue. Around the turn of the century the Metropole frequently welcomed acts like Roy Ayers, Odetta, Avishai Cohen and Al Grey, but in more recent times the quality has dwindled, becoming more about shifting pints of the black stuff and less about the music. Here’s hoping this represents a sea change, with a who’s who of Irish based jazz-acts including saxophonist Meilana Gillard, Dublin based soulster Jesse John Heffernan, Stella Bass, who performs her Stella Sings Ella tribute, and the Nielsen/Guilfoyle Trio providing the rhythm for acclaimed sax man Andy Middleton.
As always there is plenty of free music to catch peppered across the city, with Gallagher’s on McCurtain Street always putting on a good show, The Bodega featuring a range of free international and Irish acts, while The Roundy and Cork’s newest pub ‘Bridge’ (on Bridge Street) pack in DJs a-plenty across the weekend.
Tickets and further information available via the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival website.