The best jazz events this week
Dirty Jazz Club returns to Dublin while the Guilfoyle/Nielsen Trio plays in Derry bar
The Guilfoyle/Nielsen Trio play Bennigan’s in Derry on Wednesday
Dirty Jazz Club
Arthur’s, Dublin, arthurspub.ie
Over the last year, these monthly Saturday nights with the Dirty Jazz Club have become one of the success stories of the live jazz scene with enthusiastic audiences filling the upstairs room at Arthur’s to hear this long-running collective take the standards repertoire out for a gallop.
The regular line-up gets a summer shake-up this month with saxophonist Cathal Roche the only regular Dirty Jazz Club member not otherwise engaged. Joining him is a cast of talented “deps” that will bring a different energy to the Arthur’s stage, particularly rising Cologne-based saxophonist Matthew Halpin making a rare Dublin appearance, with classically-inclined pianist Izumi Kimura, funky bassist Sean Maynard Smith and always inventive drummer Shane O’Donovan.
Des Hopkins Band
Harbour Bar, Bray, theharbourbar.ie
Time was, there were numerous trad jazz sessions happening in the greater Dublin area of a bank holiday weekend, but chances for fans of Dixieland and mainstream jazz to hear their favourite music played live are pretty thin on the ground these days. One of the few old hands still hitting the right notes is veteran drummer Des Hopkins and his band, descended from the Original Guinness Jazz Band that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, still have what it takes to keep the trad jazz flame alight.
Bennigan's, Derry, facebook.com/bennigansbar
When the trio of bassist Ronan Guilfoyle, guitarist Mike Nielsen and drummer Conor Guilfoyle emerged on the Dublin scene in the late 1980s, they ushered in a new era in Irish jazz, and blazed a trail that many groups were to follow.
In their heyday, the trio toured and recorded with ex-Miles saxophonist Dave Liebman, as well as performing their own scorching live trio performances, and their bootleg recording of odd-meter “f**ked-up standards” became an internet sensation.
Over the years, the three members have all gone on to lead their own groups and each has become an eminent pedagogue in their respective disciplines, but opportunities to see these three masters play live together are rare these days. They’re in the northwest this week to make a new record with Modal Citizen Records, and while there, they will play a one-off gig in Bennigan’s intimate live space. Rare levels of group interplay, coupled with herculean technique and unbridled volume, make the Guilfoyle/Nielsen trio one of the most visceral live experiences in Irish jazz.
JazzGate: The Music of Miles Davis feat. Bill Blackmore
Black Gate, Galway, aengushackett.com
The regular JazzGate series at the Black Gate, curated by Galway guitarist Aengus Hackett, turns its attention this week to the deep ocean of music associated with the great trumpeter Miles Davis. From Birth of the Cool and Kind of Blue, to Bitches Brew and beyond, Miles’s music has been the source that has nourished generations of jazz musicians around the world, and it retains its power and relevance in the 21st century.
To prove it, Hackett is joined by Dublin trumpeter Bill Blackmore – who has form in channelling the spirit of Miles, particularly from his electric period – with bassist Dan Bodwell and drummer Barry Duffy taking care of rhythm section business.
Cormac Kenevey & Cian Boylan Trio
NCH, Dublin, nch.ie
Of all the crooners of the classic era when jazz was pop, Anthony Benedetti seems to be the one most cherished in the 21st century. He didn’t have the best voice – that probably belonged to Bing Crosby. Nor was he necessarily the best musician, in terms of phrasing and technique – that accolade generally goes to Sinatra. But Tony Bennett, as he is known to his legion of fans, was arguably the most authentic and most emotionally affecting of them, investing his vocal performances with a humanity that still speaks to contemporary listeners and performers.
In a show entitled The Good Life, respected Dublin vocalist Cormac Kenevey – whose own authentic delivery bears comparison with Bennet’s – pays tribute to the great man with pianist Cian Boylan’s excellent trio with bassist Damian Evans and drummer Dominic Mullen.
Daniel Soro Trio
Arthur’s, Dublin, arthurspub.ie
Guitarist Daniel Soro started out playing flamenco and classical guitar, and the finger style he learned from those styles makes him one of the few jazz guitarists not to use a pick. Cleaving to the classic post-bop guitar style of players like Grant Green, Joe Pass and Louis Stewart, Soro’s trio features a muscular rhythm section with bassist Derek Whyte and drummer Brendan Doherty.