This week’s best jazz gigs: Steam Down, Maynard Smith, Doherty, O’Kelly
Kenosha Kid play Dublin and Galway, Jim Doherty Trio plays with Nigel Mooney
Jazz vocalist Honor Heffernan plays Arthurs, Dublin on Thursday 16th
Black Gate, Galway; Anseo, Dublin (Sunday 12th)
The Irish chapter of US guitarist Dan Nettles’ Kenosha Kid franchise blew the doors off the Bray Jazz Festival last weekend with their winning blend of killer grooves and loud guitars and there’s just two chances left to catch this pop-up band before they pack up and go their separate ways again. Nettles, who artfully blends surf rock and contemporary jazz with college radio and a country twang, is joined by powerful Berlin bassist Roland Fidezius and two of the Irish scenes most fearless improvisers, guitarist Shane Latimer and drummer Sean Carpio.
Grand Social, Dublin
Rising South London collective Steam Down won two awards at the Jazz FM awards in London last week, including Best Live Experience, so it’s a perfect time to catch them live as part of the Eastbound Festival which ends tonight. Started a couple of years ago by British saxophonist Ahansé, their weekly jam sessions at the hip Buster Mantis club in Deptford are attracting guest appearances from grandees such as Kamasi Washington and the Sons of Kemet. As much about the good vibes as they are about good music, Steam Down dip their spoons into the rich melting pot of their home city’s music scene, coming up with a stew of funk, Afrobeat, free jazz and grime. Expect to dance.
Workman’s Club, Dublin
The Dublin Jazz Co-Op series presents a brand new group putting a funky, electronic spin on the traditional piano trio, with keyboardist Darragh O’Kelly, bassist Sean Maynard Smith and drummer Brendan Doherty exploring their collective influences, including Weather Report, Charles Mingus, Hermeto Pascoal and Sun Ra.
DCU Final-Year Student Performances
National Concert Hall, Dublin (also Wednesday 15th & Thursday 16th)
As part of their final-year requirements, the students from DCU’s prestigious BA in Jazz and Contemporary Performance must give a public performance, so here is an unrepeatable opportunity to hear the next generation of jazz musicians showcasing their talent and what they have learnt to do with it. The student body is incredibly diverse, with musicians from Ireland, Brazil, Iran, Israel, Italy, Denmark, India, France, and Serbia represented, so forget what you think it all might sound like and just bring the listening energy these young musicians need. There’s an afternoon and an evening session each day, and all the sessions are free but ticketed, so check out the NCH website for times and details.
Honor Heffernan Quartet
Peerless vocalist Honor Heffernan learnt her trade on the bandstand during the 1980s and 1990s with some of Ireland’s greatest jazz musicians, including guitarist Louis Stewart and pianists Noel Kelehan and Jim Doherty, so her instincts as a jazz singer are finely honed. She does not appear as often as she might on home ground, so here’s a rare enough chance to check in with the first lady of Irish jazz in the talented company of pianist Phil Ware, bassist Damian Evans and drummer Kevin Brady.
Danny G & the Major 7ths/Shy Mascot/We 3 Kings
Proving that there are many routes to the jazz waterfall, soul boy Danny Groenland brings the positive vibes to this double bill. Danny G & the Major 7ths channel Marvin Gaye, Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo into a contemporary sound that is all about the bright side of the jazz street, while Florida rapper Jamel Franklin’s Shy Mascot confound the hip-hop stereotype with a bashful front man, soulful vocalist Fiadh Rua Gregg and a laid-back jazz rhythm section. An evening for those who like to smile while they dance.
Saturday 18 th
Jim Doherty Trio w/Nigel Mooney
Veteran Dublin pianist Jim Doherty has been fronting groups of Irish jazz musicians since the late-1960s when his quartet with guitarist Louis Stewart performed to great acclaim at the Montreux Jazz Festival. These days, the whole history of the music shines through in Doherty’s playing, and he is joined here by his old friend, legendary bassist Dave Fleming, along with drummer Dominic Mullan and a special appearance from old-school guitarist and vocalist Nigel Mooney.