Your essential guide to this weekend’s Cork Jazz Festival highlights



Musical options abound at the newly expanded festival. O’Driscolls selects some of the highlights from Saturday and Sunday.


Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Cyprus Avenue, Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m.

The group of brothers play two first concerts in the Oliver Plunkett Street hall, with reduced prices for those under 16.

Anna Gourari and Zsofia Boros

Triskel, 1 p.m.

The legendary ECM label took over the Triskel for much of the weekend, with the Christchurch venue being a perfect setting for playing music that often has at least a foothold in the classical world. This afternoon concert features Anna Gourari and Zsófia Boros in a program of solo and duo works specially designed for the ECM weekend.

TS Monk Quartet

Everyman, 2:30 p.m.

It must be a mixed blessing in the music world to be known as “the son of Thelonius Monk”, but the multi-talented drummer himself is highly respected. In addition to playing drums in his father’s quartet in the 1970s, TS also performed with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

This decently looking double afternoon program also features the Bansangu Orchestra, a London-based ensemble.

Pontius Pilate and the nailers

An Brog, 5 p.m.

The popular ska cover group performs tunes from bands such as The Specials, The Beat and The Clash in concerts on Saturdays and Sundays.

River Lee Hotel

One of the many places offering free music throughout the weekend.

Laura mvula

Town Hall, 8 p.m.

The British singer is headlining one of the many major concerts at Town Hall, a new venue for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Born in Birmingham, Mvula has performed in church choirs and the influence of gospel has been evident throughout her career. His big breakthrough came in 2013 with Sing to the Moon, a debut album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and produced the hit single “Green Garden”. She has performed at Electric Picnic and Dublin before, but this will be Mvula’s first concert in Cork.

Wyvern lingo

Live at St Luke’s, 8 p.m.

One of the festival’s non-jazz gigs, the melodious Wicklow trio seem to have found their place with the r’n’b turn of their debut album.

China Moses / Pablo Ziegler Trio

Everyman, 8 p.m.

Another impressive double bill that will draw jazz fans to MacCurtain Street Hall. China Moses is following in the footsteps of her mother, Dee Dee Bridgewater, who performed at the same venue last year. The 40-year-old Californian is a powerful, soul and R&B singer and her production has included original material as well as covers of some of the classics. His group in Cork will include the highly regarded British pianist Ashley Henry.

Pablo Zeigler, on the other hand, promises the tantalizing mix of styles that has been dubbed “nuevo tango”. Basically he takes the tango from his native Argentina, and infuses it with jazz and other influences. It’s been a year for Ziegler, who landed his second Grammy in January when Jazz Tango won the award for Best Latin Jazz Album.

Kristjan Randalu / Dino Saluzzi

Triskel Christchurch, 8 p.m.

Another double ECM bill. Of Estonian origin, Kristjan Randalu grew up in Germany and initially trained in classical music before turning to jazz after hearing the album Chick Coreas Inside Out. He will be joined in Cork by American guitarist Ben Monder and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari.

Argentinian bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi made a strong impression when he performed at the Cork festival in 2013 and will certainly attract some of the people who were lucky enough to see this concert.

A world-class musician, Saluzzi is famous for changing the traditional tango sounds of his native country, and his backing band is a family affair, with Dino’s brother, son and nephew.

Paul Dunlea

Green Room, Opera, 11:45 p.m.

Cork trombonist Paul Dunlea is the festival’s first artist-in-residence, and among his appearances this weekend is this late-night concert with his quintet.

All Tvvins

Opera, midnight

Part of the festival’s eclectic non-jazz offering, for many revelers, the Dublin pop duo will be a perfect way to end the night.


Linley Hamilton Set

Music school, 2 p.m.

The Belfast-born trumpeter is headlining a program that also includes Frank Vignola’s Hot Jazz Guitar Trio.

Jazz on the square

Place Emmet, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, there will be afternoon free jazz in the square next to the Opera. Wrap yourself well!

Trio of rolls

Triskel, 2:30 p.m.

This young jazz-rock group from Leeds has already been nominated for the Mercury Prize and praised by Gilles Peterson. Their energetic sounds are sure to make a lively Sunday afternoon at the Triskel.

Nnenna Freelon Trio

Everyman, 2:30 p.m.

With six Grammy nominations under her belt, the Massachusetts-born singer has also branched out into theater and also had a residency in Las Vegas in honor of Ray Charles. For this double afternoon program, she will be preceded by saxophonist Donny McCaslin, member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra who also performed on David Bowie’s Blackstar album.

The Metropole Hotel

The MacCurtain Street Hotel was where it all started in 1978, and it still draws large crowds for free daytime concerts and late-night jazz tickets throughout the weekend.

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Town Hall, 8 p.m.

His Grammy Awards include one for a collaboration with David Bowie, and his orchestra is made up of a collection of brilliant musicians. “It’s not just about how well soloists can perform, and they can; they really have to wear the composition, ”explains the American composer.

“The job of the musicians is to create continuity, drama, expression and character, to bring the story to life, so that the audience really feels what I was feeling when I was writing the piece.

Tord Gustavsen / Kit Downes

Triskel Christchurch, 8 p.m.

A delightful double bill as part of the ECM Weekend includes the added bonus of Kit Downes playing on the Triskel pipe organ.

Tord Gustavsen is another man who enjoys tapping into sacred music, combining aspects of Norwegian hymns with cutting edge jazz. He brings a new trio to Triskel.

Stanley clarke

Everyman, 8 p.m.

The legendary bassist brings his distinctive playing style and fusion sounds to Cork for the first time. One of the most anticipated concerts of the weekend.

Nubiyan Twist and Blue Lab Beats

Dalí 10:30 p.m.

At times in recent years, the Cork Festival has probably not paid enough attention to some of the genre fusion acts that have emerged from the UK club scene. Fortunately, this is a gap that has been nicely filled this year. It has the potential to be one of the more enjoyable gigs of the festival, especially if clubbing and dancing is more your bag than sit-down jazz. Nubiyan Twist mixes its jazzy brass section with genres such as soul, afrobeat and hip-hop. Ideal for a late night boogie.

Blue Lab Beats, meanwhile, offers an interpretation of ‘jazztronica’ halfway around the world from their remix work for Dua Lipa and Rag’n’Bone Man.

Jenny greene

Cork Opera House, midnight

Be warned that this is a DJ set, rather than the full orchestral accompaniment Greene has brought to Marquee and other venues. However, it will feature a number of special guests, while the visuals will be provided by local outfit Generic People. The Sunday show is already sold out, but it also plays at 7 p.m. on Monday.



Saturday, Cork Opera House, 7 p.m.

The Skibbereen native established his reputation as the Irish King of Soul in 2016 with his album Non-Fiction. It gave birth to his catchy hit “Clap Both My Hands”, as well as other beauty pieces such as “Call My Name”. Deady’s return to Leeside comes on the back of longtime player Black Diamond, recorded in a cave house in Spain and released in September.

There’s a little more country in there than before, but long-term fans will still be happy.


Sunday, Cork Opera House, 7 p.m.

Eoin French, aka Talos, is another Corkman who makes an impression beyond his hometown. Earlier this week, his band performed at Brixton Academy in London in support of publishers, as part of a steady rise since the release of their album Wild Alee last year. In November, the former architect takes the road back to the United States. Expectations are already building his next second album, which will be released soon via BMG.


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