Cory Wong, Ronan Guilfoyle, Izumi Kimura: the best jazz this week
Kimura brings a combination of feral creativity and technical virtuosity to the stage that belies her calm demeanour
Saturday Feb 17
Carole Nelson Trio
Tinahely Courthouse, Wicklow, 8.30pm, €14/12; also Wednesday 21, Dolans Upstairs, Limerick, 8pm, €10; carolenelsontrio.weebly.com
London-born pianist Carole Nelson concludes a nationwide tour with bassist Cormac O’Brien and drummer Dominic Mullen in support of her new trio album, One Day in Winter, an elegiac meditation on a Winter’s day in the Blackstairs mountains where she lives.
Monday Feb 19
Alan Benzie Trio
Arthurs, Dublin, 8.30pm, €10, arthurspub.ie
Scottish pianist Alan Benzie won a BBC Scotland jazz award 10 years ago when he was only 17 and went on to win a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied with JoAnne Brackeen. Drawing particular inspiration from the late, lamented Esbjorn Svensson, Benzie’s trio with fellow Scot Andrew Robb on bass and Hungarian drummer Marton Juhasz is a tight, well-drilled unit playing original music. Their only Irish date comes towards end of two weeks intensive touring throughout Europe, so the trio should be fired up and sucking diesel by the time they reach Dublin. Support comes from PAJ, a new identity for intrepid Irish guitarist Paddy Groenland, recently returned from parts exotic, including Mali and Brazil, with some new music on his mind.
Wednesday Feb 21
Wax On 4: John Coltrane
Workman’s Club, Dublin, 7pm, €10/8 (on-line), improvisedmusic.ie
These vinyl listening parties, moderated by your faithful correspondent, are taking on a life of their own, and it is gratifying that so many eminent musicians and listeners are happy to give their time to wax lyrical about their favourite music. This month, we hit the motherlode, re-examining the music of the great John Coltrane, the only jazz musician in history to have a church founded in his name. Joining me to listen with fresh ears to some of the most iconic music of the 20th century are Australian saxophonist Daniel Rorke, UCD sacred music specialist Dr Jaime Jones and eminent bassist and composer Ronan Guilfoyle.
Thursday Feb 22
Izumi Kimura/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway
St. Ann’s Church, Dawson st., Dublin, 8pm, €15/12, izumi.eventbrite.ie; also Friday 23, Heritage Council, Kilkenny, 8pm, €10; izumikimura.com
Japanese pianist Izumi Kimura, an explorer in the brave new post-genre space where contemporary classical meets jazz and free improv, has been resident on these shores long enough to be called a Dublin pianist. Whether playing written music, such as her bravura readings of John Cage at last year’s Galway Jazz Festival, or her own entirely improvised performances, Kimura brings a combination of feral creativity and technical virtuosity to the stage that belies her calm demeanour. This trio collaboration with two of the modern giants of free jazz, UK bassist Barry Guy and US drummer Gerry Hemingway, promises free music of a standard all too rarely heard in Ireland.
Bossa Pra Gilberto
Arthur’s, Dublin, 8pm, €10/8, arthurspub.ie
Bossa nova sauntered forth from the upmarket suburbs of Rio De Janeiro in the 1960s like a long and lovely revolution. Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s soft-spoken songs, with just a gently strummed guitar for accompaniment, were the opening salvoes in what became the first “world music” craze, and 50 years on, this deceptively subtle urban folk music continues to fascinate. Dublin-based Romanian singer and cellist Aleka Potinga has assembled a heavyweight group to celebrate the music of bossa nova’s founder, with guitarist Chris Guilfoyle and drummer Brendan Doherty, two rapidly ascendant stars of Irish jazz, and a chance to hear one of Ireland’s most eminent jazz musicians, bassist Ronan Guilfoyle, making a rare home appearance as a side man.
Friday Feb 23
The Sugar Club, Dublin, 8pm, €15, thesugarclub.com; also Thursday 22 & Saturday 24, Bello Bar, Dublin, 8pm, €12.50, bellobardublin.com
One of the week’s hottest tickets, at least for those of a “muso” persuasion, will be guitarist Corey Wong, favourite collaborator of Michigan funk monsters Vulfpeck. Wong’s thing is more or less the same as the Vulfpeck thing, impeccable retreads of 1970s funk, with original tunes that sound uncannily familiar, channeling the Swampers, Sly Stone, Weather Report and maybe a touch of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Wong is on the road this month with a band of his own, promoting his “Green Screen Project”, playing an official concert in the Sugar Club, and two “pop-up” gigs at the Bello Bar, which suggests an encouraging appetite for live performance.