The best jazz this week: Carole Nelson Trio and GoGo Penguin
Zrazy’s Carole Nelson is in Carlow with her trio and GoGo Penguin bring their blend of piano serialism and dance music to Belfast
Carole Nelson Trio
Saturday, Jan 13
Carole Nelson Trio
Visual, Carlow, 8pm, €15/12, visualcarlow.ie
Carole Nelson has spent the best part of three decades as one half of popular jazz-pop duo Zrazy, but an invitation to perform with her own trio last year has opened a new door for the Carlow-based pianist. What began with a one-off performance has blossomed into a fine working trio featuring bassist Cormac O Brien and drummer Dominic Mullen, with whom Nelson is touring this spring to promote her debut solo album, One Day in Winter. The London-born pianist and composer may not have all the flashy chops of some of her male colleagues, but the directness and honesty of her playing – spacious, meditative and open-hearted – more than makes up for it.
Richie Buckley Quintet
Arthur’s, Dublin, 9pm, €10, arthurspub.ie
Hearing a naturally gifted tenor saxophonist in full flight is one of the most rewarding experiences in jazz, if not in all of music. There’s something about the tenor – its range and its flexible tone – that particularly snags the human ear, which is why it was the instrument of choice for Coltrane, Rollins, Getz, Henderson and many more. All those influences can be heard in the horn of Richie Buckley, whose effortlessly fluent post-bop tenor playing will put a smile on the dourest of winter frowns.
Wednesday, Jan 17
Wax On 3: Louis Armstrong
Workmans Club, Dublin, 7pm, €8, improvisedmusic.ie
The Improvised Music Company’s new vinyl listening club – moderated, to declare an interest, by this correspondent – is rapidly gaining a following with its mix of classic music and informed chat in the relaxed surroundings of the Workman’s Club upstairs room, overlooking the river. Miles Davis and Nina Simone are already ticked off the list, and Monk and Coltrane are on the horizon, but this week, with a panel of musicians and experts, we’ll be reminding ourselves how a street kid from New Orleans single handedly changed the face of popular music.
Friday, Jan 19
Black Box, Belfast, 8pm, £14, movingonmusic.com
Minimalist Manchester piano trio GoGo Penguin were in Ireland just a few months ago, drawing big audiences (for a piano trio) with their live soundtrack for cult stoner movie Koyaanisqatsi. Now they’re back with their own thing. Pianist Chris Illingworth, bassist Nick Blacka and drummer Rob Turner have been honing that particular thing – a hypnotic blend of piano serialism, electronic dance music and game soundtracks – for a few years now, connecting with a new generation of listeners. A new album is due in February on the Blue Note label.