Bog bodies and Sounds Like Freedom: This week’s best jazz gigs
The Ranelagh Arts Festivals and Cormac Kenevey Quartet head for the capital
Drummer Sean Carpio presents Bog Bodies, a new commissions from the Galway Jazz Festival, at the Mick Lally Theatre on Saturday, October 5th.
Saturday, October 5th
Galway Jazz Festival
Finishes Sunday, October 6th
This year’s sustainability edition of the Galway Jazz Festival has been running since Wednesday but there’s a lot more creative music to come over the weekend from this innovative, environmentally aware festival.
Sonic explorer Sean Carpio’s festival commission, Bog Bodies will be eagerly awaited at the Mick Lally Theatre this afternoon and there’s performances from leading UK saxophonist Trish Clowes and a piano duo from rising European stars Kaja Draklser and Eve Risser on Saturday evening.
Sunday’s highlights include the London Gay Big Band at the Electric in the afternoon and headliner performances from Italian bandonean player Daniele Di Bonaventura and Norwegian hardanger fiddle player Nils Okland in the evening.
There’s also plenty of high-quality domestic talent to be found in intimate settings around the city, including not-to-be-missed sets from Roisin Mulliez, Joe O’Callaghan and Richie Buckley (Saturday) and Sue Rynhart, Johnny Taylor and Dermot Dunne (Sunday).
With so much happening all weekend, perhaps the best thing is to just turn up – preferably by public transport with your own water bottle – and go with the Galway flow.
Sunday, October 6th
Sounds Like Freedom/Sam Amidon
A series of concerts under the Tradition Now banner comes to a close at the National Concert Hall with a much-anticipated double bill.
American folk innovator Sam Amidon fronts a heavyweight extended ensemble that includes the hugely influential US guitarist Marc Ribot and leading London jazz pianist Kit Downes; and Armagh concertina player Niall Vallely’s Sounds Like Freedom project, commissioned for the series, draws the musical threads of the civil rights movements in Ireland and the US together with a powerful seven-piece ensemble.
It includes renowned New York free jazz trio Harriet Tubman, innovative harpist Úna Monaghan, Scottish fiddler Aidan O’Rourke and respected traditional vocalist Karan Casey.
Andreas Varady Trio
Born in Slovakia of Hungarian gypsy descent, guitarist Andreas Varady was ‘discovered’ busking on the streets of his adopted hometown of Limerick when he was only nine.
By the age of 13, the virtuoso guitarist was already touring internationally and in 2013, he was signed up by legendary producer Quincy Jones’ management company.
Given all the international attention, appearances on ‘home’ soil are pretty infrequent these days for Varady, so here’s a chance to catch him and his family trio with father Bandi on bass and younger brother Adrian on drums.
Thursday, October 10th
Ranelagh Arts Festival
Sandford Church and elsewhere, Ranelagh, Dublin
Continues until Sunday, October 13th
For her local arts festival in Ranelagh, jazz vocalist Emilie Conway has pulled together a concert series that is broadminded and brimming with talent, all happening in the atmospheric acoustics of Sandford Church.
On Thursday night, it’s the acclaimed traditional duo of fiddler Ciarán Tourish and guitarist and song-writer Kevin Doherty; then on Friday, there’s a night of song from big-hearted Waterford vocalist Karan Casey; noted Dutch soprano Judith Mok sings Purcell, Mozart and more on Saturday night; and there’s two concerts on Sunday, first classy jazz pianist Johnny Taylor with a trio that includes creative drummer Sean Carpio in the afternoon and, in the evening, Belfast vocalist Suzanne Savage’s innovative beyond-category quintet The Save Five matches the leader’s supple voice with a high-quality international string quartet.
There’s also a performance from Conway herself on Wednesday evening in the Taphouse, followed by a jam session, along with talk, walks and exhibitions happening throughout the week.
Cormac Kenevey Quartet
Male singers are increasingly rare in jazz, and original male singers even rarer, but talented Dublin vocalist Cormac Kenevey happily bucks the trend.
The warm-toned Dubliner received a lot of deserved attention when he released his excellent debut, This Is Living, on the Candid label in 2006, and his third, last year’s excellent Turning Skies, was the work of a mature and sensitive singer and lyricist who has found his own voice.
Kenevey appears with his current quartet which includes pianist Johnny Taylor, bassist Damian Evans and drummer Dominic Mullan.
Saturday, October 12th
Two Divas & A Piano
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray
With renowned arranger Fiachra Trench at the keyboard, and two of Ireland’s most respected vocalists, Flo McSweeney and Carmel McCreagh, Two Divas and a Piano is a old-school review style show, matching much loved Broadway standards with more contemporary fare from the likes of Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell.
McCreagh and McSweeney, sometimes separately, sometimes together, are the sort of singers who can invest the hoariest old chesnut with authentic emotion, and in Trench, whose credits include the string arrangement on Fairytale of New York, they have an infinitely sensitive accompanist who knows how to shape the song to the singer.