Monday, October 19, 2009

Blogging the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2009

This weekend I'm heading south with Steph to blog, tweet, twitpix and otherwise record and experience the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2009.

It's an event running over 30 years but this is the first time I'll have been down for it - in fact it's my first major jazz event!

Having been all souled up at this year's Dublin City Soul Festival I'm looking forward to hearing a different type of music and experiencing a different vibe. Huge thanks to Guinness for the invitation and opportunity!

This year's festival features over 1,000 musicians from 29 countries, so I'm sure there'll be some interesting choices for me. Having gone through the programme diligently and repeatedly, I'm hoping I get to experience the following (and here's where you'll find me to buy me a pint/slap me for all the bad jokes):


First off it's to Jazz at the College lunchtime concert at UCC's Aula Maxima with Grace McMahon and the Paul O'Donnell Group.

Heading on then at 3pm to see a jazz group called The Club Men in the Festival club

The group above are called The Bad Plus - comprised of Ethan Iverson on piano/keyboard, Reid Anderson on electric bass and Dave King on drums - and I love the description -

The Bad Plus has undoubtedly exploded all notions of what a jazz piano trio should sound like – whether at rock festivals, jazz clubs or symphony halls. According to Rolling Stone, 'By any standard, jazz or otherwise, this is mighty, moving music … hot players with hard-rock hearts.'
They'll be doing a double bill with Sun Ra Arkestra in the Everyman Theatre on Friday evening from 20:30.

Finally then off to watch the superb Hypnotic Brass Ensemble in the Pavillion from 23:30.


Saturday starts a trip to CIT and the Cork School of Music for a Family Jazz Big Band Concert with musical director John O' Connor conducting the band, made up of senior degree and post-graduate students of the School who will play "popular and exciting big band favourites."

Yurodny is one of my "don't want to miss" events.

Featuring guest musicians from around the world, this group apparently have a a repertoire that ranges from gypsy melodies to experimental electronica, crossing the tundra of jazz along the way. The line up looks like a great list of musicians including Cora Venus Lunny, Ben Davis, Kate Ellis, Oleg Ponomarov and Tom Arthurs .

They're in the Everyman Theatre at 2pm as part of a double bill with Al Di Meola.

This (well the dancing part) could well be us after our Swing Dance Lesson on Saturday afternoon, if we don't go to the Jazz Poetry session (daddio) instead.

We'll then be heading on to see the Garda Siochana Band performing with Togetherness Gadjo Jazz at the Festival club at 15:30 before a break for the Cork Tweetup where it'll be nice to put names to faces.

Then we go to a concert I'm greatly anticipating - Mr Kurt Elling, singing Coltraine and Hartman.

Described by the New York Times as ‘the standout male jazz vocalist of our times’, Kurt’s rich voice displays an astonishing technical facility and emotional depth. He celebrates in Cork the launch of his latest album ‘Dedicated to You’, his stunning interpretation of the classic Coltrane/Hartman album.

Special guest is Grammy winner Ernie Watts, one of the most versatile sax players on the world scene in the past 40 years.
Elling is in the Everyman Theatre at 8pm.

Also on that evening that I'd love to have seen is the already SOLD OUT Imelda May gig at 20:30 in The Savoy of Patrick St over in The Pavilion is Fionn Regan at 8pm.


We'll be starting Sunday with mass. As it should be. A Jazz mass.

Join this truly celebratory and spiritual Harvest Jazz service at Cork’s most historic church - a morning of jazz joy featuring the Bla Mondag (Blue Monday) Jazz Band from Copenhagen and the African Irish Gospel Choir from Cork with guests Music commences at 10.45am.
From there it's back to the Everyman Theatre to see Jack de Johnette and the Ripple Effect
Jack DeJohnette is widely regarded as one of jazz music's greatest drummers. From Chicago, he has collaborated with most of the major figures in jazz history, most notably John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny.

DeJohnette is also skilled at nearly every musical style and is no stranger to leading innovative bands of his own. The Ripple Effect is DeJohnette's latest collaborative project. The Ripple Effect blends shades of world music, drum and bass and electronica to create a fresh taste of rhythmic jazz for the 21st century. Phenomenal.
After that, at 15:30, there's a Mystery Session at the Festival Club. Very exciting altogether. No idea who it could be!

Having a break in the afternoon will be welcome, because we're heading to a 1930s Harlem night in the Firkin Crane.

Come and experience the hot house atmosphere of Harlem’s most flamboyant period - the jazz age at its zenith with glamourous guys and gals, plus great music. And expect the unexpected it was a sellout last year.

Music from the 16 piece Tuxedo Junction Big Band playing the hits of Billy Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller and more.

After that, it's possibly the gig that I'm most looking forward to (and that I'm hoping to post about tomorrow - the beautiful and wonderfully talented Ms YolanDa Brown in the Firkin Crane.

And then it's dancing the night away at the Festival Club in anticipation of our trip home on Monday.

So, short version - lots of music, seeing friends, having a dance, a pray, a walk and a great time. Woot :)

You can check out the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, on October 23 to 26 on their website and download the snazzy brochure (which is where I got most of the info and images above from) right here.


  1. Excellent! I shall see you at the Sun Ra Arkestra and Al Di Meola then... and if you're really good, you might even get to see me ;)

  2. Thanks for giving us a peek at the work of these artists. Very tempting!

  3. the festival club is where it's at! the hotel is a maze but saw a band the slammers who were one of the best live bands i've ever seen. sax player was incredible, singer was off the scale, a mega voice, never heard anyone like it. tight band, great tunes, nobody stopped dancing when i was there. sound of seventeen were great too, didn't think they cared about the conductor but great musicians.

    who did you see darragh?