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