Cantuária a coup for Bray Jazz Festival as it turns 15
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BRAY is set to become a musical mecca for fans of jazz this May Bank Holiday, with the town preparing to once again host its popular jazz festival weekend.
Now in its 15th year and an annual highlight on the county’s cultural calendar, Bray Jazz will once again attract the stars of jazz to the seaside town, as the popular festival continues to live up to its reputation as one of the country’s leading jazz festivals.
This year’s programme will be no exception, as leading name players from New York, Brazil and Norway travel to headline an event that will showcase jazz players from no less than 18 different countries.
More than 15 hotel, bar, theatre and other venues across the town will host events across this year’s Bray Jazz programme, as the event once more provides a welcome early season kick-start to the town’s tourist season.
Alongside a top level programme of great shows taking place each evening at Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray Jazz will also present early evening concerts in Bray Town Hall, late night shows at The Harbour Bar and The Martello, a free to the public afternoon matinee in The Royal Hotel, and afternoon jazz workshop at ‘ The Well’ on Main Street, while close to a dozen other hotel, restaurant and bar venues will host live music over the three days of the holiday weekend.
Headlining this year’s festival is one of the lead- ing names in Latin jazz and bossa nova, Brazilian guitarist Vinicius Cantuária and his quartet, who will play an opening night show at Mermaid on Friday May 2.
Cantuária’s a major figure in New York music circles, and his visit to Bray is quite a coup for the event.
The Brazilian born player comes with a big reputation, and is probably best known to World Music audiences for his collaborations with many of the greats, including Talking Heads David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno, amongst others.
Bray Jazz has developed a reputation through the years for mining that very rich seam of contemporary jazz from Scandinavia, and in 2014 the festival will again return to Europe’s far north – on this occasion to present one of the hottest young properties in European jazz, Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset.
For its closing night headliner, Bray Jazz will host a performance by the brilliant New York trumpeter Dave Douglas, whose chamber presentation with pianist Uri Caine will be Douglas’ first Irish show since he last played Bray Jazz Festival back in 2007 – at a concert that provided the basis for a subsequent chart-topping live album release ‘Moonshine.’
Over the Bank Holiday weekend Dave Douglas is also the special guest facilitator of an afternoon jazz workshop – an event that will provide music students everywhere with a rare chance to get some great insights from one of the top players in world jazz.
International music will again be to the fore at this year’s festival’s early evening recitals, a mainstay of the Bray Jazz Festival programme since the event was first started back in the millennium year.
The recital concerts take place in the upstairs council chambers at Bray Town Hall, and will feature performances by the West African seven-piece Manden Express (Fri 2), by celebrated traditional folk ensemble This is How We Fly (Sat 3), and by Indian classical music brother and sister Joyeeta and Debiyoti Sanyal (Sun 4).
Free to the public shows have always been a corner-stone of Bray Jazz Festival’s programme, and this year the free access to great music will be a feature once more, as The Royal Hotel hosts a three-band matinee featuring The Hugh Buckley Quartet, The Joni Project and Karovka on Saturday afternoon, May 3, while The Harbour Stage at the town’s Harbour Bar is an all-new festival stage that will host more than half a dozen fantastic live shows both daytime and at night over the long weekend.
Free shows will take place right across the town at bars, hotels and restaurants too, with The Coach Inn, The Hibernia Inn, The Strand Hotel, Barracuda Restaurant, The Esplanade Hotel, Mt Everest Kathmandu, Ocean Bar and Grill, The Wilton Hotel, The Porterhouse, Brady’s of Shankill and The Powerscourt Arms Hotel just some of those staging free jazz trail events on the weekend.
Full details about this year’s Bray Jazz Festival are available at www.brayjazz.com, while information about tickets are available by contacting box office at Mermaid Arts Centre on (01) 2724030.
Brazilian legend Vinicius Cantuária has played with the likes of Brian Eno, David Byrne and Laurie Anderson.
Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset is one of the hottest properties in European jazz.
US trumpeter Dave Douglas will host a jazz workshop.