The best jazz gigs to see this week

Blue Sky Music and Contempoary Jazz at Arthurs, 100 world musicians at the 13th Sligo Jazz Project and the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play the Sugar Club

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play the Sugar Club

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play the Sugar Club

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Saturday 22

Blue Sky Music

Listen. Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 8pm, €10, listen.ie

Composer Dylan Rynhart’s monthly music salon flies up into the clear blue skies of the post-genre future. Listen’s eclectic line-ups take the fear factor out of going to hear new and challenging music: if it’s too new, or a little too challenging, no need to run screaming from the room – there’ll be something different along in a few minutes. This month’s lucky dip includes a cello duet from RTESO cellists Yue Tang and Sokol Koka; Canadian songwriter Jona Xhepa sings and reads from her new novella; leading Irish jazz modernist Mike Nielsen plays his unique microtonal guitar with vocalist Ellen Demos and drummer Shane O’Donovan; and Rynhart himself premieres a new work. Just do exactly what it says on the poster and you’ll be fine.

Tuesday 25

FESTIVAL

Sligo Jazz Project

Various venues, Sligo, till Sunday, sligojazz.ie

Sligo Jazz Project, now in its 13th year, may well be the largest such event in Europe this year. A student body of over 100 musicians from all over the world – ranging from seasoned professionals to rank beginners – plus a stellar faculty of tutors and mentors, descend on Sligo town for a week of instrumental tuition, master classes and ensemble training. By night, the faculty turn themselves into a series of impromptu bands such as you will rarely see in towns and cities many times bigger than Sligo. For its unique vibe, for the intimacy of its setting, and for the sheer goodwill and positive energy that it engenders, the Sligo Jazz Project has to be one of the happiest festivals of the year. This year’s faculty includes UK jazz-meets-hip-hop star Soweto Kinch (the festival’s artist-in-residence), impressive Australian fusion drummer Virgil Donati, effervescent UK vocalist (with Irish roots) Liane Carroll and renowned US bassist and educator John Goldsby, among many others.

Thursday 27

CONTEMPORARY JAZZ

Daniel Rorke Trio with Chris Guifoyle

Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 8.30pm, €10, arthurspub.ie

Australian saxophonist Daniel Rorke has been working up new material every week on his informal Dwarf Jazz Café residency. The excellent group he is taking up the road to Arthurs this week for a full-on performance features Dwarf Jar regulars, bassist Cormac O Brien and drummer Matthew Jacobson, plus rising star of the Dublin jazz scene, guitarist Chris Guilfoyle, who is defying whatever accusations of nepotism that might have been flung his way by being, y’know, really good at playing the guitar.

TRADITIONAL JAZZ

New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

Sugar Club, Dublin, 8pm, €10, thesugarclub.com

In this, the 100th anniversary of the first ever jazz record, is traditional New Orelans jazz making a comeback? Maybe. When the Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded Tiger Rag back in 1917, the music was so new, no-one was entirely sure how to spell it. Now US hipsters, the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys, are reclaiming the j-word, trying to make old-style traditional jazz cool again. The presence in the Sugar Club of the kind of music that has, for the past half a century, been consigned to suburban hotels on a Sunday afternoon, suggests it might be working.

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