Tra­di­tional Jazz

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - CRITICS’ CHOICE -

SIOBHÁN LONG Satur­day 1

Caitlín Nic Gab­hann and Ciarán Ó Maon­aigh

The Sea Lodge Ho­tel, Water­ville This fid­dle, con­certina and dance duo are guests of this Éigse na Brídeoige fes­ti­val in south Kerry, where one of our ear­li­est fem­i­nists, St Brigid, is re­mem­bered and cel­e­brated an­nu­ally. Nic Gab­hann and Ó Maon­aigh have a well-es­tab­lished part­ner­ship, and know how to al­low space and light to suf­fuse their tunes, with Nic Gab­hann’s dance steps lend­ing a per­cus­sive force to some that adds fur­ther propul­sion to their mu­sic.

Cór Ban Chúil Aodha & Peadar Ó Ri­ada

Ionad Cultúrtha, Bal­lyvour­ney

This all-fe­male choir, founded by Peadar Ó Ri­ada in 1985, gath­ers to mark St Brigid’s Day in their na­tive Cúl Aodha, and will pre­miere ma­te­rial from their forth­com­ing third al­bum. Their reper­toire is eclec­tic, and in­cludes two ex­ten­sive works by Ó Ri­ada: Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoighre and Laoi na Laoithe.

Tues­day 2

The West Ocean String Quar­tet Cultúr­lann Uí Chanáin, Derry Warm­ing up in ad­vance of the re­lease of their new al­bum, The West Ocean String Quar­tet marks its 20th an­niver­sary this year with an in­no­va­tive series of con­certs cel­e­brat­ing the tra­di­tional mu­sic of Ire­land’s At­lantic coast. Their cho­sen reper­toire has been cu­rated from the broad mu­si­cal spec­trum of this re­gion – from the swing­ing barn dances of west Done­gal down to the grand song-airs and rous­ing polkas of Kerry. Ar­ranged by the quar­tet’s cel­list, Neil Martin, this will be their first chance to per­form the mu­sic within the coastal com­mu­ni­ties and is­lands that in­spired it.

Wed­nes­day 5

Kristyn Fon­tanella Dance presents In LiMBO

Glór, En­nis

This en­sem­ble of six dancers, ac­com­pa­nied by four mu­si­cians in­ter­ro­gate the forms of Ir­ish dance which many feel they al­ready know in­ti­mately, in search of new modes of ex­pres­sion. Amer­i­can-born chore­og­ra­pher Fon­tanella is a vet­eran of River­dance and Lord of the Dance.

Fri­day 7

The Fid­dle Case

DC Mu­sic Club, Cam­den Row, Dublin Bouzouki player Eoin O’Neill is joined by a trio of mu­si­cians who meld straight-up trad with a heady mix of tunes well suited to a fiery jam­ming ses­sion. O’Neill’s com­padres tonight are dou­ble bassist Jon O’Con­nell, fid­dle player Adam Shapiro and Kieran O’Con­nell on bodhrán, gui­tar and voice.

COR­MAC LARKIN Satur­day 1

Dirty Jazz Club

Arthurs, Dublin

The Dirty Jazz Club ses­sion at

Arthurs on the first Satur­day of ev­ery month is one of the city’s most pop­u­lar jazz res­i­den­cies, and there’s a good rea­son for that. The tal­ented group – drum­mer Conor Mur­ray, key­boardist Dar­ragh O’Kelly, bassist Derek Whyte, trum­peter Bill Black­more, trom­bon­ist Colm O’Hara, sax­o­phon­ist Cathal Roche – have been play­ing to­gether for years, so there is a level of un­der­stand­ing and em­pa­thy in the group that means they can take well-loved tunes by Miles Davis, Joe Zaw­inul and oth­ers and make them their own. It’s the sort of long-run­ning res­i­dency that people will nod sagely about in years to come and say they were there, even if they weren’t. Claim the high ground in that fu­ture con­ver­sa­tion by, y’know, ac­tu­ally go­ing.

Sun­day 2

Dublin Jazz Co-Op: Re:Elling­ton Work­man’s Club, Dublin

Since his death in 1974, suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions of jazz mu­si­cians have been ex­ca­vat­ing the mu­sic of the great Duke Elling­ton and prov­ing that there is still plenty of road left in the Elling­ton jour­ney. Re:Elling­ton is a col­lab­o­ra­tive project fea­tur­ing six of the Ir­ish scene’s most ac­com­plished im­pro­vis­ers – clar­inet­tist Matt Ber­rill, sax­o­phon­ist Nick Roth, trom­bon­ist Paul Dun­lea, pi­anist Greg Fel­ton, bassist Derek Whyte and drum­mer Matthew Ja­cob­son – who have each re-ar­ranged or en­tirely re-imag­ined an Elling­ton com­po­si­tion for the group. In­ter­wo­ven with frag­ments of in­ter­views with the great com­poser, the set in­cludes lesser played Elling­to­nia like Afrique and African Flower, as well as favourites like I’m Be­gin­ning to See the Light and Car­a­van. Bands with three horns, par­tic­u­larly of this qual­ity, are rare on Dublin stages, and there will be plenty here to de­light both Elling­ton fans and those with more con­tem­po­rary tastes.

Zan­dra, Queen of Jazz

Smock Al­ley The­atre, Dublin (also Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 3rd)

Zan­dra Mitchell, born in Phib­s­bor­ough in 1903, was Ire­land’s first in­ter­na­tional jazz star, tour­ing Europe in the 1920s, ap­pear­ing on the same stage as Cole­man Hawkins and Django Rein­hardt, and even lead­ing her own band, Baby Mitchell and her Orig­i­nal Queens of Jazz, in Ber­lin dur­ing the 1930s. Roseanne Lynch’s mu­si­cal the­atre work, re­claim­ing this largely for­got­ten star of Ir­ish jazz, sold out its seven show run at Smock Al­ley last Novem­ber, so here’s an­other chance – two in fact – to catch Zan­dra, Queen of Jazz, di­rected by Kather­ine Soloviev with mu­sic by Richard Len­non.

Wed­nes­day 5

Alina Bzhezhin­ska Quar­tet

Sugar Club, Dublin (also Triskel, Cork, Thurs 6th; Mer­maid, Bray, Fri 7th; Court­house, Ti­na­hely, Sat 8th; St. Peter Church, Port­laoise, Sun 9th; Sta­tion House, Clif­den, Mon 10th; Na­tional Opera House, Wex­ford, Wed 12th; Dock, Car­rick-on-Shan­non, Thurs 13th; Glór, En­nis, Fri 14th; Re­gional Cul­tural Cen­tre, Let­terkenny, Sat 15th) Del­i­cate, un­wieldy, and hard to drag up­stairs, the harp is the rarest of in­stru­ments in jazz. Still, US pi­o­neers like Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane found space in the devil’s mu­sic for the in­stru­ment of the an­gels back in the 1960s, and there are a few con­tem­po­rary ex­po­nents, no­tably Colom­bian harpist Ed­mar Cas­teneda, who played a Mu­sic Net­work tour back in 2013. It must have gone well be­cause Mu­sic Net­work are back with a 10-date tour from an­other jazz harpist, Alina Bzhezhin­ska. Based in London, Bzhezhin­ska has been win­ning praise re­cently for her work in re­claim­ing the mu­sic of Alice Coltrane. She lands in Ire­land this week with her own pow­er­ful quar­tet that features sax­o­phon­ist Tony Kofi, bassist Larry Bart­ley and drum­mer Joel Prime.

Iron City

Arthurs, Dublin

Guitarist Shane La­timer is one of the Dublin scene’s most in­trepid mu­si­cians, a sonic pioneer whose mu­si­cal jour­ney has taken him to the edges of ab­strac­tion. A mem­ber of Dublin elec­tro-jazz hip­sters OKO and co-founder of the Bot­tlenote fes­ti­val, La­timer has lat­terly been per­formed his ab­sorb­ing solo show in­ter­na­tion­ally, blend­ing his gui­tar with elec­tronic glitch­scapes and live sound pro­cess­ing. But when he moved house re­cently, the guitarist re­dis­cov­ered the records that started him down the jazz gui­tar road in the first place by artists like Grant Green, Kenny Bur­rell and Jimmy Ponder, and he de­cided he needed to re­con­nect with what he calls “the or­gan funky stuff” that had orig­i­nally in­spired him. The mus­cu­lar new band that he has as­sem­bled to help him – named for a lesser known Grant Green al­bum – in­cludes some of the funki­est, most fear­less play­ers on the Dublin scene, in­clud­ing key­boardist Dar­ragh O’Kelly, sax­o­phon­ist Nick Roth, bassist Sean May­nard-Smith and drum­mer Bren­dan Do­herty.

Thurs­day 6

Sig­nal Series: Big Spoon/ ÄTSCH Arthurs, Dublin

Sub­ti­tled “New Di­rec­tions in Ir­ish Jazz”, the monthly Sig­nal Series, cu­rated by the Im­pro­vised Mu­sic Com­pany, show­cases the work­ing bands and per­form­ers who are writ­ing the next chap­ters in Ir­ish jazz. This month’s dou­ble bill features Cape Town sax­o­phon­ist Chris En­gel’s Big Spoon, a riotous elec­tro-acous­tic en­sem­ble draw­ing on Weather Report and EDM in equal mea­sure, with Dar­ragh O’Kelly on key­boards, Shane O’Dono­van on elec­tron­ics and Matthew Ja­cob­son on drums. Also on the bill, guitarist Mathias Win­kler’s sweetly melodic quar­tet ÄTSCH with pi­anist Graeme Bourke, bassist Eoin O’Hal­lo­ran and drum­mer Hugh Den­man.

Fri­day 7

Spike Cello Fes­ti­val

Lost Lane & var­i­ous venues, Dublin The fact that it can be listed here un­der the j-word is ev­i­dence enough of the reach and am­bi­tion of the Spike Cello Fes­ti­val, now in its fourth year. Pro­grammed by Ir­ish cello evan­ge­lists Lioba Petri and Mary Barne­cut, Spike is a dar­ing bid for genre free­dom for this gor­geous in­stru­ment, fill­ing the city over the week­end with mu­sic that de­fies cat­e­gory and chal­lenges hide­bound no­tions about the role of the cello in con­tem­po­rary cre­ative mu­sic. The three main evening con­certs in Lost Lane fea­ture the ex­tra­or­di­nary South African cel­list Abel Se­lao­coe plus Celtic cel­list Clíodhna Ní Aodáin (Fri­day); ex­per­i­men­tal Ice­landic cel­list Gyða Valtýs­dót­tir and her band plus Kate El­lis & Caimin Gil­more per­form­ing a new piece by com­poser Sam Perkin (Satur­day); and a one-off cello for­ma­tion of Dublin en­sem­ble Glasshouse plus Two Ver­sus fea­tur­ing Belfast vo­cal­ist Suzanne Sav­age and New Zealand cel­list Hugo Smit (Sun­day). There are also var­i­ous work­shops (in­clud­ing one on im­pro­vi­sa­tion from Se­lao­coe on Satur­day af­ter­noon), events for chil­dren in Tem­ple Bar’s Ark, yocella (yoga and live cello, I kid you not), and a series of free per­for­mances in the Hugh Lane Gallery on Sun­day, in­clud­ing a noon per­for­mance by prin­ci­ple cel­list with the Ir­ish Cham­ber Orches­tra, Chris­tian El­liott.

Jim Do­herty & Nigel Mooney John Field Room, NCH, Dublin (also Arthurs, Dublin, Satur­day 8th) Pi­anist Jim Do­herty and guitarist Nigel Mooney are two of the most se­nior old-school play­ers on the Ir­ish jazz scene, lovers of swing and keep­ers of the be-bop flame. Do­herty, in par­tic­u­lar, is a cen­tral fig­ure in Ir­ish jazz his­tory, whose long as­so­ci­a­tion with the leg­endary Louis Ste­wart be­gan when he au­di­tioned the guitarist for his first ever gig in 1960 and only ended when the two old friends recorded an al­bum to­gether, just months be­fore the great guitarist’s death in 2016. This week, Mooney joins Do­herty’s long­stand­ing trio with em­i­nent bassist Dave Flem­ing and classy drum­mer Myles Dren­nan for a lunchtime con­cert in the John Field Room on Fri­day. Then Do­herty re­turns the favour in Arthur’s on Satur­day night join­ing Mooney’s own next gen­er­a­tion rhythm sec­tion of bassist Barry Dono­hue and drum­mer Dominic Mul­lan.

Sun­day 9


Work­man’s Club, Dublin

The Dublin Jazz Co-Op op­er­ates a rolling cu­ra­tor pol­icy and the cur­rent pro­gram­mer of this in­ti­mate salon of the new is Amer­i­can-born com­poser and mu­si­cian Ethan Ed­wards. Ed­wards’ own mu­sic in­hab­its the space where im­pro­vi­sa­tion and com­po­si­tion meet – a space he calls the “halo­cline” of mu­sic (look it up) – and he of­fers no apolo­gies for push­ing the Co-Op’s cu­ra­to­rial en­ve­lope a lit­tle fur­ther this Sun­day with Sonas, a clas­si­cal duo fea­tur­ing cel­list Da­vide Forti and pi­anist Francesca De Nardi. As well as pieces by Stradella and Xe­nakis, the award-win­ning duo will per­form new works by Ed­wards him­self and by lead­ing Ir­ish jazz com­poser Ro­nan Guil­foyle. So go on, dip a toe in the halo­cline (se­ri­ously, look it up)


Alina Bzhezhin­ska, Sugar Club, Dublin, Wed­nes­day and on tour.

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