Jazz: The best gigs this week

Michael Wollny is the highlight at this weekend’s Guinness Cork Jazz festival

Michael Wollny breathes new life into the piano trio

Michael Wollny breathes new life into the piano trio

 

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
Various venues, continues till Sunday 29th. guinnessjazzfestival.com
Those interested in where jazz is headed in the 21st century will find little to enlighten them in Cork this weekend. The annual Lee-side bacchanal has always been more about beer and bed nights than be-bop and beyond, but there’s usually a few crumbs scattered here and there for real jazz fans. American headliners such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Monty Alexander, Kenny Garrett and Nicholas Payton will sate mainstream appetites at the Everyman Theatre. But the real nourishment is to be found away from the madding crowd, in the shape of German pianist Michael Wollny and his fresh take on the piano trio, a reunion of the semi-mythical Guilfoyle/Nielsen trio, and two of Ireland’s leading jazz vocalists, Honor Heffernan and Sue Rynhart, with shows that are more than just a wander through the great American songbook. Best of all for these ears will be a return to the Triskel’s music friendly Christchurch space for Quercus, the sublime UK trio (see below) who take old songs and turn them into something new - and that’s jazz. Cormac Larkin

Sunday, October 29th

Quercus
Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, 8pm, €25. paviliontheatre.ie
As she approaches her seventh decade, legendary English folk singer June Tabor is resting on anything but her laurels. Quercus is her beyond genre, beyond beautiful collaboration with mercurial Loose Tubes saxophonist Iain Ballamy and empathetic Welsh pianist Huw Warren. The repertoire runs from folk standards to broadway show tunes, with Dylan, Sondheim and even Auld Lang Syne thrown in, but the results are startlingly fresh and original.

Ballamy and Warren weave sparse accompaniments and passages of improvisation that might be called jazz, but what Tabor is doing, inhabiting songs you’ve heard a thousand times and making them sound brand new, will send shivers up your spine and the genre police running for their coats. CL

Thursday , November 2nd

Jason Moran brings the music of Monk back to life
Jason Moran brings the music of Monk back to life

Jason Moran and the Bandwagon Octet: In My Mind - Thelonious Monk at the Town Hall 1959
NCH, Dublin, 8pm, €32.50/27.50/25. nch.ie
Pianist Jason Moran is one of the most inventive and original voices in US jazz, a smart, charismatic performer whose playing straddles the past and future of the music. It’s appropriate then that he should choose to celebrate the music of Thelonious Monk, about whom all that and much more can be said. Moran has brought the great be-bop pioneer’s original arrangements back to life, and has pored over recently unearthed recordings of the great pianist in rehearsal, to create a unique performance experience with a stellar band – including his hugely talented trio collaborators, drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Tarus Mateen – that is part concert, part documentary, and wholly unmissable. CL

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