Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Airelle Besson: This week’s best jazz gigs
Cork Jazz Festival features New York pianist Fred Hersch and Cork trombonist Paul Dunlea
Fred Hersch: the New York pianist’s trio play the Everyman in Cork as part of the Cork Jazz Festival
Saturday, October 19th
Gilad Hekselman Trio
Since moving to New York in 2004, Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman has established himself as one of the leading voices of a new generation of guitarists, leading his own projects and playing with some of the biggest names in US jazz, including saxophonists Chris Potter and Mark Turner, bassist Esperanza Spalding and pianist Aaron Parks. Hekselman’s last appearance in Dublin won him admirers in Ireland and this return visit with his own trio is hotly anticipated. The guitarist will also give a masterclass in Arthurs at 6pm before the concert at 9pm.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Sugar Club, Dublin. Also playing at Dolan’s, Limerick on Thursday, October 24th; Sugar Club, Dublin on Friday, October 25th; Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Saturday, October 26th; Sugar Club, Dublin on Monday, October 28th
These eight brothers from Chicago are no strangers to the Sugar Club stage – they were last in town just two months ago – but there is a reason for that. Raised on music by their trumpet playing father Phil Cohran – who played with the great eccentric of Chicago music, Sun Ra – HBE cook up a winning blend of funk, jazz, hip-hop and R&B that has endeared them to audiences all over the world. Their five Irish dates this time conclude with an all-ages matinee at the Sugar Club on Monday 28th, a rare push-back against the licensing laws’ age apartheid that prevents under-eighteens from experiencing live music.
Wednesday, October 23rd
Airelle Besson, Sebastian Sternal & Jonas Burgwinkel Trio
Sugar Club, Dublin. Also Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire on Thursday October 24th; Regional Cultural Theatre, Letterkenny on Friday, October 25th; Mermaid, Bray on Saturday, October 26th; Triskel, Cork on Sunday, October 27th
French trumpeter Airelle Besson is part of a new generation of European musicians who are flying past the genre nets and inventing a new language that blends jazz, classical, folk and pop. The 41-year-old, winner of the Django-Reinhardt Award from the French Academy of Jazz in 2014, is prominent on the competitive Paris scene, working with Swedish singer Isabel Sorling and Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. Besson teamed up with pianist Sebastian Sternal and drummer Jonas Burgwinkel in Cologne three years ago and the trio performed for the first time together after just 30 minutes rehearsal. It was enough to prove that there was a chemistry between the three requiring further investigation, and this five date Music Network tour is an opportunity for open-minded listeners around the country to check out where those investigations have led them.
Thursday, October 24th
German-born guitarist Mathias Winkler’s ÄTSCH quartet favour the sunny side of the harmonic street, influenced by the bright, country-tinged guitar tradition that passes down from Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell to Julian Lage and Gilad Hekselman (see above). Crucially, the Dublin-based group – with pianist Graham Bourke, bassist Eoin O’Halloran and drummer Hugh Denman – have stayed together and played together long enough to develop a sound of their own, one that widens the jazz envelope in a post-rock direction.
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
Various venues, continues until Monday, October 28th
In among the ageing rockers and cabaret acts that constitute the bulk of the Cork Jazz Festival’s own programme, it will be worth seeking out influential US vocalist Kurt Elling and towering New York pianist Fred Hersch with his own trio at the Everyman, but most of the actual “jazz” on the bill of this year’s festival is to be found away from the big venues, programmed independently of the festival organisation. Leading Cork trombonist Paul Dunlea has curated a programme for the Green Room at Cork Opera House, which is the only real opportunity this year to check out the growing strength of the Irish contemporary scene. There will be performances from bassist Ronan Guilfoyle’s superb Brazilian group Tudo Bem, powerful Dublin four-piece Umbra and luminous beyond-genre vocalist Sue Rynhart. Dunlea takes the Green Room stage himself on Sunday with Derry-born trumpet star Ryan Quigley and rising Cork pianist Cormac McCarthy.
As usual, the Triskel will be an oasis of calm and respect for music in the festival desert with their annual ECM Weekend, programmed by Triskel Director Tony Sheehan. It opens on Friday with two excellent music films, Open Land: Meeting John Abercrombie and Sounds and Silence: Travels with Manfred Eicher. The hugely respected English saxophonist John Surman plays duo with Norwegian pianist Vigleik Storaas on Saturday in Triskel, and Sunday features a powerful double bill of European talent, with Albanian singer Elina Duni’s duo with rising London guitarist Rob Luft and a solo performance by legendary Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen. Also at Triskel on Sunday is French trumpeter Arielle Besson’s trio (see above).
Elsewhere, watch out for trios led by drummer Darren Becket and saxophonist Tom Caraher in the Metropole’s festival club, but be prepared for a less than ideal listening environment.