Jazz Mem­o­ries - Triskel’s di­rec­tor Tony Shee­han se­lects his favourite three gigs of the fes­ti­val over the years

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - GUINNES CORK JAZZ FESTIVAL - Tony Shee­han, artis­tic di­rec­tor, Triskel Arts Cen­tre In con­ver­sa­tion with Richard Fitz­patrick

Char­lie Haden Lib­er­a­tion Mu­sic Orches­tra, Cork Opera House, 2005 “The Char­lie Haden Lib­er­a­tion Mu­sic Orches­tra was part of a dou­ble bill with McCoy Tyner, two of the most in­flu­en­tial liv­ing jazz masters on the same stage on the same night. Cork was Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture at the time. We had man­aged to se­cure sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing for the jazz fes­ti­val to re­ally go the ex­tra mile. The only perk I asked for was that I got to in­tro­duce McCoy Tyner. Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Jack McGowran went one bet­ter and said: ‘ In­tro­duce both of them.’ This was the era of Ge­orge Bush and the Iraq War. Char­lie made a stand against this on stage. I re­mem­ber his ver­sion of ‘This is Not Amer­ica’, that un­for­get­table adap­ta­tion that he made. Of course, Char­lie passed away a few years ago. We’ve lost a true jazz leg­end. That night, that packed house, that at­mo­sphere, and that sense of phys­i­cal strength that Char­lie was able to put into the mu­sic. Un­for­get­table. ” McCoy Tyner, Cork Opera House, 2005 “McCoy Tyner, on his own, on pi­ano. He is one of the true greats of jazz. I got to watch the con­cert from the side of the stage. I was barely 20 feet away. I couldn’t re­ally hear the mu­sic be­cause if you can’t hear the mon­i­tor you can’t re­ally hear what’s be­ing pro­jected out onto the stage, but I could hear the pi­ano and I could see and feel his move­ments, his fa­mous left hand – the way he has carved that unique sound.

His sheer ar­tic­u­late­ness with the pi­ano, the flu­ency of the mu­sic even the way he would use the pedal or the way he would keep time or mess around with beats.

The jazz fes­ti­val com­mit­tee de­cided to give him a life­time achieve­ment award. I had to give him a clock. McCoy was walk­ing off stage so I had to walk him back out to the cen­tre of the stage and made the pre­sen­ta­tion. He took the clock. We were walk­ing back off stage and we started hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion about the clock: ‘ The clock doesn’t work.’ ‘ Maybe it needs to be wound.’ ‘ Or is it a bat­tery clock?’ ”

Dino Saluzzi, Felix Saluzzi, Anja Lech­ner, Triskel Christchurch, 2013

“It was 2013. We were now open in Triskel Christchurch. We had re­stored our church into a beau­ti­ful, 300-seat venue. You know what the fes­ti­val is like... Ev­ery­one is around town. There’s a real buzz. Ev­ery pub has mu­sic in it. There are trails. It’s nuts. Ex­cept in Christchurch. You come in and you’re go­ing into this quiet en­vi­ron­ment – this 18th cen­tury, beau­ti­ful baroque church that has been spe­cially re­designed as a con­cert hall, and it has one of the finest acous­tics in the coun­try.

Our main gig that night was a trio – the ban­do­neon player Dino Saluzzi, his brother Felix Saluzzi [tenor sax, clar­inet] and the world- fa­mous cel­list Anja Lech­ner. They were play­ing mu­sic from a project they did to­gether – Navi­dad de los An­des. It was a blend of art, tango, clas­si­cal, sax­o­phone, cello sound, ban­do­neon. Dino be­gan to tell one of his sto­ries about chil­dren at play in the moun­tains, all of this he con­jures up. The place was packed – it was stuffed with peo­ple and you couldn’t hear a pin drop.

He got so low at one stage that you could ac­tu­ally hear him breath­ing, as he picked out the notes. He took us on the most un­for­get­table jour­ney. It was one of the most beau­ti­ful mo­ments I’ve had in this church, this sanc­tu­ary for mu­sic, in the mid­dle of the nois­i­est week­end in Cork.”

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