Guinness Cork Jazz Festival


Various Venues, Cork Fri- Mon

Cork has always played host to a schizophrenic jazz festival, trying to satisfy two audiences that are, let’s face it, openly hostile to one another.

At one end there’s the serious jazz listener, a solitary, hollow-eyed beast who stalks the more salubrious venues in sensible shoes and scowls darkly at anyone daring to whisper. At the other end are the revellers in town for “the jazz” who have no real use for improvising musicians but will take a little bit of swing served with their pop for the weekend that’s in it.

As usual, the latter audience is well catered for this year, with a “jazz trail” featuring more bands than you could shake a kipper tie at. For serious listeners, the pickings get thinner every year. But those determined to brave the throng can find a few concerts that will make every scowl worth it.

At the top of the bill, much- talked-about US singer Gregory Porter is in the Everyman tomorrow in a double bill with trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Pianist Tigran Hamasayan, at the Everyman on Sunday afternoon, will bring the cognoscenti out, as will supergroup Miles Smiles, led by trumpeter Wallace Roney on Sunday evening.

But this year’s artistic credibility comes courtesy of the mostly Irish line-up at the Triskel Arts Centre, including singers Christine Tobin and Lauren Kinsella tomorrow afternoon, bassist Michael Coady’s group featuring David Binney and UK piano trio Phronesis tomorrow night, and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s quartet on Sunday evening. Well worth catching is Triskel’s Box Set, starting at 11pm each night, featuring trailblazing Irish groups Mixtapes from the Underground, OKO and Phisqa.

Also at the Triskel is a series of 8.30pm concerts featuring artists from the respected pan-European 12 Points Plus programme, including Parisian hipsters MeTaL-O-PhoNe (tonight) and not-to-be-missed Norwegian punks PELbO (above, Sunday).