Jazz Ireland Blog

The blog is dedicated to Irish Jazz and to the fans, musicians and venues that support it. if you have any content you would like to add to the blog please get in touch.

Grammy Award nominated & ECM artists to headline Bray Jazz Festival 2023

Bray Jazz Festival makes a welcome return to the annual calendar, and has announced yet another great line up of international talent it will bring to Irish shores on the May Bank Holiday weekend.

One of the most exciting young pianists in contemporary American jazz is amongst the international stars who are on their way to headline this year’s Bray Jazz Festival. Six-times Grammy Award nominated, Gerald Clayton was signed to the prestigious Blue Note jazz label in 2022.

The 38 year old pianist has been a fixture in the band of legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd for the past decade, and has toured and recorded with such notable jazz stars as Roy Hargrove, Terri Lynne Carrington, Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves.

Returning on the May Bank Holiday weekend (April 28th-30th next) for its 22nd year, Bray Jazz Festival will also feature German instrumentalist of the year and ECM recording artist Julia Hulsmann’s Quartet, and will welcome back the one-time Esbjorn Svensson Trio drummer Magnus Ostrom, as part of bassist Lars Daniellson’s Liberetto Quartet, also featuring guitarist John Paricelli and pianist Gregory Privat.

This year’s festival will present double-bill performances at Mermaid Arts Centre each night, and will stage double-day daytime shows at the County Wicklow Arts Centre venue on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Elsewhere there will be early evening matinees at Bray Town Hall each night, with Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz Elemental Quartet – featuring award-winning Dutch saxophonist Tineka Postma and two times World Accordion Prizewinner Joao Barradas – London bassist Ruth Goller’s Skylla, which features Dublin born singer Lauren Kinsella - and two-times British jazz singer of the year Ian Shaw, amongst those appearing.

This year’s festival will be the 22nd iteration of Bray Jazz Festival, and follows the festivals return after a two years Covid absence, in 2022. Bray Jazz has established a reputation for showcasing some of the best known names in contemporary jazz, and in recent years has featured such American greats as John Scofield, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, while amongst the giants of European jazz to appear have been pianists Bobo Stenson and Tord Gustavsen. The festival has also established a name for showcasing young stars on the rise, and has brought performers such as Marius Neset, Ambrose Akinmusere and Yazz Ahmed to Irish audiences.

This year’s Bray Jazz Festival will platform an array of great Irish performers too – with Irish projects including new music by Ronan Guilfoyle – 96 Miles – a tribute to Miles Davis, Sean Carpio’s Bog Bodies, saxophonist Michael Buckley’s new quartet ‘Ebb and Flow’, bassist Cormac O’Brien’s Art Blakey tribute, HIP – The Art Blakey Charts and Matthew Jacobson’s Insufficient Funs, amongst those appearing as part of Mermaid Arts Centre double bill presentations.

Elsewhere there will be live music throughout the bank holiday weekend at Bray’s popular Harbour Bar, and jazz trail gigs taking place at bar and hotel venues across the north Wicklow town.

Full details about this year's festival are posted at: www.brayjazz.com, where tickets are now on sale.

The Hot Box #096 - The Maybeck Recitals

The 96th edition of The Hot Box!

This an all-piano affair that marks the re-release (on Spotify) of all 42 albums recorded in the 90’s, of the solo piano recitals branded as The Maybeck Recitals. Recorded by the independent Concord Jazz label, they present a who’s who of jazz pianists of the last decade of the last century. The real biggies aren’t there - the Herbie Hancocks, the Oscar Petersons - perhaps Concord couldn’t afford their fees - but taken overall the recordings represent a diversity of brilliance. From stride to modernism.

Tales from the far Side 02.03.23 A Jazz-Weather Forecast

On this edition I reflect about the weather and the effects it has on our life, looking forward to the brighter side of the season. There is music by Christine Tobin, Ben Goldberg, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Tobias Wiklund, Nick Finzer and, of course Weather Report.

Tales from the far Side 23.02.23 Funny how Time slips away but JAZZ keeps you young

"Funny how Time slips away" the theme of this week's edition with some great Jazz recordings that keeps us young, with music by Dr.John, Jimmy McGriff, Johnny Hodges, Mose Allison, Dave Holland, Steve Coleman, Roy Eldridge, Andy Hague and others

Tales from the far Side 16.02.23 The Harp in Jazz

On this edition I explore the sound and the contributions of the Harp in Jazz featuring the pioneering forces of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane as well as a new generation of players and innovators like Brandee Younger, Deborah Henson-Conant and Alina Bzhezhinska. And there is a touch of otherworldly World Music with Edmar Castaneda' Colombian Harp

The Hot Box #095 - New Material XIV

The Hot Box 95: What’s in it?

Some great new music that’s what. Two from America, one from Belgium, and two from Ireland.

The album Tim Fitzgerald’s Full House was awarded to Daniel Cervigni who emailed , and now you can contact Donald to “win” the copy of Chick Corea’s Acoustic Band double album “Live”, which marks the second anniversary of Chick’s death.