There’s a lot on this weekend in Cork city for the Guinness Cork Jazz festival. With Choice Cuts at the helm, the programme has been brought back into the orbit of modern jazz-rooted music, and there’s a hefty schedule going on from tonight (Thursday) til Sunday night.
There is always more than jazz though at the festival, and our recommended picks below are staying in the genre, while there are still live shows from The Charlatans, Pillow Queens, Jenny Greene, King Kong Kompany, Tony Hadley and much more to explore.
I left out the excellent the African guitarist Vieux Farke Toure and the Ethiopian jazz artist Hailu Mergia, a music trail, DJ boat parties and a free exhibition We Got The Jazz to check out too.
Here’s 10 of our picks for the weekend.
Friday October 27th @ Cork Opera House, 11:30pm
The formative ’90s LA band The Pharcyde brought rap classics to the world with ‘Passin Me By’ , ‘Runnin’ and ‘Drop’ and a double header of the trio of Imani, Fatlip & Slimkid3 performing late with the Oakland rap peers Souls Of Mischief who gave hip-hop classic ’93’Til Infinity’ to the world is a salivating proposition.
A late night rap classic double header in the Opera House.
Saturday October 28th @ Cyprus Avenue, 2pm
Cork-based producer and recently, rapper jarjarjr has worn the influence of jazz more and more he makes hip-hop beats.
Recent song ‘Song 50,000’ , a collaboration with Dublin live jazz trio Five to Two is the Cork man at the height of his craft, and is a teaser of his self-produced debut rap album Catch the Dusk.
Last year, jarjarjr presented the his first Soul Service as part of Cork Jazz Festival, bringing guests like Bricknasty and Kassa Overall to the stage. 2023 is the turn of the soothing soulful voice of Uly.
Saturday October 28th @ Live At St. Lukes, 7:30pm.
A fine trio of new jazz artists with South East London / Yoruba alt cosmic soul jazz singer Muva Of Earth leading this one, along with the London alt-soul artist Tawiah, rounded out by Vega Trails, the new duo project from double-bassist and composer Milo Fitzpatrick, of Portico Quartet and saxophonist Jordan Smart (Mammal Hands, Sunda Arc).
Saturday October 28th @ The Everyman, 9:45pm
Join one of the finest hip-hop and jazz-rooted Irish labels who have given us Kojaque, Soft Boy Records for three of the acts from the label playing live. Cork artist Yenkee has been out here making lo-fi breezy alt-pop for eight years now (and he also plays with Fehdah on Sunday) and he’s joined by the co-founder, producer, A&R and Portlaoise man of Soft Boy Records, Kean Kavanagh for his alt-indie singer-songwriter project. The night is rounded off with Dublin jazz trio Five to Two of Matthew Breen (piano), Jonah Byrne (double bass) and Finn Mac Anna (drums).
Saturday October 28th @ Cork Opera House, 11:30pm.
Choice Cuts’ Mark Murphy curates a lineup of festival performers including the always reliable Chicago brass band Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (who play across the weekend with their 50 years of hip-hop and Celestial Beats shows), Wicklow jazz-funk guitarist Zaska, Nialler9 favourites Melina Malone; Qbanaa, Decarteret, Yves Solo, DJ Stevie G, and Cork-based brass and percussion big-band Boolaboom who play “acoustic house, jazzy techno and drum and bass belters.”
Expect special guests to be added in the night.
Saturday October 28th @ Cyprus Avenue Doors, 11pm
Luke Una is the man behind the iconic Manchester Homoelectric night and Homobloc festival, and known for playing disco, house, soul and jazz in his sets so pairing him up with Ninja Tune stalwart Mr Scruff is a perfect pairing for this late night boogie. The sounds could be wide-reaching.
Sunday October 29th @ The Everyman, 2pm
Cork DJ institute, radio presenter, hip-hop cheerleader and curator Stevie G presents a selection of new Irish talent at this afternoon show like the soulful Cuban Irish singer Qbanaa, the Dundalk R&B pop band Negro Impacto, seven-piece R&B, neo-soul, jazz and hip-hop band Projective and Cork 18 year old producer, vocalist and multi instrumentalist Sam Healy.
Fred Wesley & The JBs
Sunday October 29th @ The Everyman, 6pm
The man who can lead any House Party, Fred Wesley has been music director, arranger, trombonist and a primary composer for James Brown from 1968-1975, then arranged for and played with Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band. He’s also played Ray Charles, Pancho Sanchez, Van Morrison, Usher, the SOS Band and Cameo.
With his backing band The JBs, Sunday at The Everyman, is sure to be a jazz-funk party.
John Carroll Kirby Ensemble, Dorian Concept
Sunday October 29th @ Live at St. Luke’s, 2pm
The LA experimental Stones Throw producer John Carroll Kirby makes jazz-rooted instrumental music that draws from electronic music and ambient styles and he will play with his full live band.
While Dorian Concept, the Austrian autodidact multi-instrumentalist Oliver Thomas Johnson makes electronic music with warped synth lines, jazz-inflected passages and bright tones.
A great live pairing.
Sunday October 29th, Cyprus Avenue, 11pm
One of the UK’s finest selectors and radio broadcasters, Gilles Peterson is known for his tastemaking with his BBC Radio show. Expect a smattering of soul, jazz, hip-hop and house music.