A century of love songs and Monk music: this week’s jazz highlights
Thelonious Monk celebrated; Galway Jazz Festival; and serial duettist Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard: the drummer will pair up with different Irish jazzers at Fumbally Stables over the weekend
Flo McSweeney/Carmel McCreagh/Fiachra Trench
Arthurs, Dublin Saturday October 7th 9pm €10, arthurspub.ie
“Love and all that jazz” sees singers Flo McSweeney and Carmel McCreagh sifting through almost a century’s worth of songs about love and loss, with musical direction from pianist Fiachra Trench. The starkness of voice and piano, the quality of the material, and the experience of the musicians makes for a thoughtful cabaret that digs deeper and pushes beyond the hearts-and-flowers cliches of romantic songs.
Galway Jazz Festival
Various venues, Galway Ends Sunday October 8th galwayjazz.ie
The boutique Galway Jazz Festival continues all weekend, with a diverse, artistically strong programme, much of it free, put together by native Galwegian saxophonist Matthew Berrill. Highlights include the Irish Memory Orchestra, Aengus Hackett & Mike Nielsen and the Haz’art Trio (Friday October 6th); Cora Venus Lunny & Colm O’Hara, Ronan Guilfoyle’s Always Know, Jack Talty & Graham Dunne and Cello Ireland (Saturday October 7th); the Simon Nabatov Trio and Arve Henriksen & Terje Isungset (Sunday October 8th); plus events for children, a crash course in swing dancing and a panel discussion on jazz education (Saturday morning).
Always Know – Monk @ 100
Crane Lane Theatre, Cork Tuesday October 10th 9pm €10/€8, cranelanetheatre.ie
“You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?” So said Thelonious Monk of his utterly original, utterly brilliant music – music so good that, when it appeared in the 1940s, some critics thought it was no good at all. Composer Ronan Guilfoyle has made a lifelong study of the great be-bop pioneer, and Always Know is a suite of original compositions, inspired by Monk’s often profoundly enigmatic pronouncements, celebrating the centenary of the pianist’s birth. To perform it, Guilfoyle has assembled a talent-rich seven-piece ensemble, including guitarist Chris Guilfoyle, pianist Greg Felton and a special guest, French drummer Christophe Lavergne.
Jeff Ballard Duos
Fumbally Stables, Dublin, Friday October 13th and Saturday October 14th 7pm & 9pm, €16 (byob), note.ie
Drummer Jeff Ballard, who cut his teeth with Ray Charles and Chick Corea, is probably best known as the rhythmic force behind the all-conquering Brad Mehldau trio. But Ballard also likes to start things himself – such as his new-fangled Fairground quartet – as proving grounds for new approaches to improvisation. The 54-year-old California native is in Dublin for a unique weekend run of impromptu duos with some of the Dublin scene’s most adventurous musicians, including experimental cellist Kate Ellis (Friday 13th, 7pm), poet Stephen James Smith (Friday 13th, 9pm); and Inni-K’s Eithne Ní Chatháin (Saturday 14th, 7pm).