Well as the Summer slowly sneaks away we start to notice the evenings getting shorter which must mean it’s time for jazz nights. Before turning our attention to all the wonderful concerts that are coming up over the next couple of months we should reflect on the outstanding event of the Summer, The Sligo Jazz Festival. Eddie Lee is a legend in that part of the world and he and his team do an outstanding job in organising the whole event. Now ten years on the go this year SJP (Sligo Jazz Project) has developed into a very important International event with some 1st Class tutors coming from Europe and America as well as overseas pupils of all ages. The number of student participants has risen 25% this year to over a hundred. World class musicians that took part were Ernie Watts and Chuck Rainey as well as a host of fantastic artists from GB & Ireland like Brian Priestley, Gwilym Simcock and Liane Carroll. The local stars who were taking part included Hugh Buckley, The Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, Matthew Halpin and Nigel Clarke (based in Dublin now).
The premise of the week is simple. It is a chance for music students to be involved with master classes and workshops from Tuesday to Sunday in a Summer school environment and then at night everybody gets to attend superb jazz concerts performed by the tutors they have worked with during the day. From conversations with some of the students who all thoroughly enjoyed their week, the Sligo Jazz Festival can expect another rises in it registrations for 2016.
The Limerick Jazz Festival will return at the end of September. The organising team is lead by the hardest working man in jazz, John Daly. Last year was always going to be a tough year to follow considering the improved funding that was available for Limerick as City of Culture. Van Morrison and David Sanborn where the highlights but fair play to John and his colleagues they have put together a strong program for this years Festival. Some of the highlights are The Josh Project at the Savoy hotel on Saturday night and the Paul Dunlea Big Band at 69 O’Connell’s Street on Friday. Perico Sambeat is a superb Saxaphone player from Spain and he teams up with the equally superb Phil Ware Trio for a concert in Dolan’s later that night. One last event to keep an eye out for is a workshop being put on by BBC Ulster’s own Linley Hamilton on Saturday afternoon in The Hunt Museum. Linley is probably the greatest supporter of the Irish jazz scene and does Trojan work in helping to promote Irish artists through his Friday night radio show.
Louis Stewart, in case you thought the world has forgotten you, they haven’t! I got a wonderful call last Monday from a delightfully sweet lady in London. Somebody told her that I might know something about the jazz scene in Dublin (That was her first mistake). Her name was Vicky and she is a jazz singer who sounded reasonably familiar with the jazz scene in the UK. She was inquiring about Louis Stewart and if I knew if he was still playing gigs. She went on to describe that she was preparing for a gig in the 606 Club just off the King’s Road, Chelsea and the owner (Steve Rubie) was playing one of Louis’ tracks in the background. She thought his guitar playing was stunning and wanted to make a trip to Dublin in the near future to see him play. So watch out Louis for an armada of fans coming across the Irish Sea!
Larry Coryell played a really touching concert in The Sugar Club, Dublin on the 13th September. Joined by Dave Redmond on Bass and Kevin Brady on Drums Coryell displayed a subtle touch on numbers like Tracie, named after his wife and a powerful mastery of improvisation on his own version of Ravel’s Bolero on the acoustic guitar. Both sidemen came in for a lot of praise from the master guitarist and not undeservedly. There was a large audience with squeezing in room only and we would all hope that it is not long before Coryell returns again.
Michael Janisch is one of the stand out Bassist of his generation. Hailing from the USA he is now firmly based in London where he is also the owner of the very successful label, Whirlwind Records. He is launching his new project in Dublin at JJ Smyth’s on Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th September. Paradigm Shift is the name of the album and the name of the group he has put together to play a series of CD launch concerts across Europe. Well worth getting along to as your entry will include a CD with many of Whirlwinds finest artist appearing on it. Making a welcome return as part of the group will be Paul Booth who some will remember spent some time here last year gigging and basically mixing into the local jazz scene.
GinaJazz have been making all the right noises of late and are seeing their fan base grow and grow. On Tuesday 22nd September at 8.00pm they will play a concert in The John Field Room at the NCH, Earlsford Terrace. It’s a rich mixture of young and mature with Gina Pukaite on vocals (The Young) and the immortal Louis Stewart on guitar and Dave Fleming on Bass (The Mature!)