The best jazz gigs to see this week

Live jazz highlights from across the country


Howth Jazz and Blues Festival

Various venues, Howth, Co Dublin, no cover charges; continues until Monday,

Despite the tired old conflation of jazz and blues – one a vast meta-genre embracing 100 years of art music from around the world, the other a very specific (albeit influential) strand of US folk music – the Howth Jazz and Blues festival, programmed by the Improvised Music Company, packs a serious artistic punch. Worth checking out in a busy, all-free programme will be long-running pop jazz duo Zrazy (Friday); pianist Phil Ware and guitarist Hugh Buckley; much-admired Swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz with local piano trio F-JoB; a quartet led by innovative guitarist Mike Nielsen (Saturday); singer Aoife Doyle fresh from the launch of her excellent new album Clouds; bassist Ronan Guilfoyle's "Love Supreme" project with saxophonist Michael Buckley; avant-surf band the Mushburgers (Sunday); and guitarist Tommy Halferty's Camus Jazz ensemble (Monday).


Norma Winstone

Townley Hall, Drogheda, 8pm, €20/12,

English singer Norma Winstone is one of the bona fide vocal superstars of contemporary jazz, a vastly experienced performer and a regular on the ECM label, who combines delicacy and technical precision with adventurousness and authentic emotion. She flies in for a one-off concert at the Boyne Valley Festival with two other notables of the UK jazz scene, guitarist John Paricelli and bassist Chris Laurence.

Monday 7 - JAZZ

Suzanne Savage’s Supersoup

Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 8.30pm, €5,

Belfast vocalist (and violinist) Suzanne Savage started out as a principal singer on Riverdance, and sings backing vocals for the likes of Paul Brady and Eleanor McEvoy, but jazz is what she gets up to when left to her own devices. SuperSoup is a promising new quartet featuring rising Cologne-based trumpeter Christian Altehülshorst, with support from Cherryvalley's leading Hammond organist Scott Flanagan and consummate Dublin drummer Dominic Mullan.


Electric Freeplay

Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 9pm, €10,

Tipperary guitar demigod Joe O'Callaghan doesn't make it to Dublin all that often, so opportunities to catch him in the capital should not be missed. A mercurial, self-taught six-stringer with Alan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin on his mind, O'Callaghan has been a member of several groups led by Ronan Guilfoyle, including the entirely excellent (and entirely loud) Microclimate. His Electric Freeplay features Japanese-born Dublin-resident pianist Izumi Kimura, unusually playing electric keyboards, with frequent O'Callaghan collaborator Derek Whyte on bass and experienced prog-rocker Ben Wanders on drums.

Cormac Larkin

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