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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 24, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    The people’s republic of jazz, and other fine things

    Laurence Mackin

    It’s a busy weekend ahead if you’re of a jazz persuasion. This weekend, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival gets into full swing. In recent years, it hasn’t delivered a musical line-up in step with its heritage, but things have taken a turn for the better. There’s plenty of crowd pleasers among the line-up (and there’s nothing wrong with that), with the likes of De La Soul and Beach House finding an unusual home among the jazzers.

    For those of a more purist persuasion, there’s plenty of interest on the bill, from hot property Phronesis to more old-school style with Roy Hargrove and Gregory Porter.

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    Those of you familiar with the 12 Points festival, which calls Dublin home every other year, will know plenty of names on the Cork bill, as the festival is taking up a number of slots on the roster. As well as Phronesis, Norwegian rock jazzers Pelbo are on a return journey here, along with Parisian experimentalists Metal-O-Phone. All three should not be missed.

    Speaking of 12 Points, next year’s festival, which is coming back to Dublin from Porto, is still looking to complete its lineup. Any artist who reckons they deserve a place at the table have until Friday to get their applications into IMC – details are over here.

    Another man making his way to Cork this weekend is virtuoso pianist Tigran Hamasyan. When he last came to Ireland in January this year, he told me that he was keen to get his teeth into some Irish traditional music and, good as his word, he’s added a local fiddle player to the Limerick date of this short Irish tour, which also sees him playing in Bray this weekend. Live, Hamasyan is a force of nature, moving from austere, sheets of sound to rolling, rhythmic beatboxing solos. His last album, A Fable, is a beautiful, cinematic piece of his work, and his new record sees him moving into quintet territory. Expect something very special indeed.

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