Cork set for Jazz renaissance

2018 Guinness Cork Jazz Festival Programme is officially launched!

Thurs 13 Sept:  The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival today announced their full programme of events for 2018.  The festival takes place over the October Bank Holiday Weekend (25th to 29th October) and features an incredible line-up of all things jazz!

Nearly 1000 jazz musicians from over 20 countries are flying into Cork for the weekend, including major headline acts like China Moses, Laura Mvula, Blind Boys of Alabama, Nnenna Freelon, Stanley Clarke, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and The Maria Schneider Orchestra. 

Cork’s very own Paul Dunlea has also been announced as the inaugural Artist in Residence of the Festival for the 2018/2019 period which will see Cork being represented at key jazz venues and festivals around the world through numerous partnerships.

The exciting new programme also includes a ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ Jazz Parade (Parade of the Walking Dead), free Jazz on the Plaza with open-air gigs, a bespoke light and jazz show, Unity at Live at St. Likes,  flash mobs will bring the streets to life, a live multi-disciplinary theatre and jazz show, Requiem for Truth in Nano Nagles, Goldie Chapel along with a Swing Jive in City Hall, and a Jazz Bites food fair, all of which will add even more excitement for revellers over the weekend.

Worth an estimated €35 million to the local economy, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, presenting its 41st Festival, is undergoing a renaissance this year under the direction of new Festival Director Sinéad Dunphy, who promises “an augmented and better than ever festival experience”.  “I aim to grow the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival so that it emulates the success of major international jazz events like Montreal and New Orleans.  This will ensure that Cork continues to be the home of jazz in Ireland, and one of the most important arts festivals in the world.  Our Festival has the potential to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world and my foremost intention is to bring Cork and its Jazz offering to the mainstage of the world where we belong”.

“The Festival of course would not be possible without the ongoing commitment of sponsors Diageo, the local publicans, the dedication of the hard-working festival committee and the tremendous support from local stakeholders”. 

If you’re looking to catch some of the headline acts, the main venues include the legendary festival club at The Metropole, where the festival was founded, The Everyman, Cork City Hall, Cork Opera House, Cork School of Music and Firkin Crane Theatre along with Triskel Arts Centre playing host to world renowned ECM label’s own programme of world-renowned artists as part of the ‘Triskel ECM Weekend’.

As usual there will also be plenty of free entertainment in over 70 city venues including pubs, hotels, restaurants, galleries, public buildings and club venues as well as on the city streets.

Programme Highlights:

Programme highlights include Grammy award-winning Maria Schneider and her Orchestra for their first-ever Irish appearance, the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama, celebrated US Jazz singer and composer Nnenna Freelon, UK soul songstress Laura Mvula, Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Cork’s own Brian Deady, Stanley Clarke, Billy Childs Ensemble, Billy Cobham, Fred Hersch, T.S. Monk, Donny McCaslin, Belfast’s jazz evangelist Linley Hamilton, Frank Vignola’s Hot Jazz Trio, Pablo Ziegler Trio and China Moses.

Additional artists set to feature at ‘The Late Room’ at the Cork Opera House include Ireland’s Umbra, David O'Rourke & Paul Dunlea Duo, Ronan Guilfoyle, The Paul Dunlea Sextet, Cormac McCarthy's Sùp Trio as well as the poetic Chicago-born Jazz singer/songwriter Sachal Vasandani and his Quartet. While over at the Cork School of Music, Cork’s favourite international operatic soprano, Mary Hegarty turns to the dark side again for another chapter of the Jazz Songbook.

In partnership with the Festival, Triskel Arts Centre will also curate a weekend of music and film from the world’s most prestigious jazz record label ECM which is sure to excite jazz music enthusiasts.

The Fringe:

For the first time ever, the weekend will kick off with a fantastic carnival-like ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ Jazz Parade on Thursday evening, 25th October.  This bright and colourful spectacle will roam through the streets of Cork bringing with it the alluring dance of the macabre. The deadly display, which is a nod to Mexico’s famous ‘Day of the Dead’ Parade, will include street performers and floats from Cork Community ArtLink who will partake in a New Orleans funeral procession with live improvising jazz musicians paying homage to the greatest artists of jazz gone from this world.  It’s the perfect start to Halloween season and will make you want to get your jazz on for the weekend ahead.

Also, this year’s festival will celebrate the golden era of the social dancehalls of a century ago with The Swing Jive on Saturday 27th October at Cork City Hall, where two of Europe’s biggest Jazz dance bands Meschya Lake and The Dizzy Birds and Gentlemen & Gangsters will be joined by international dancers, members of the Irish Swing Community who will reacquaint jazz festival party people with the One-Step, Two-Step, Waltz, Foxtrot, Peabody, Balboa, Shag, Lindy Hop, Swing and Jive dances. Dress sharp, polish those shoes and bring your best self for an unforgettable night which promises to be one of the biggest dance e vents ever seen in Cork city.

In another first for the Festival, a specially commissioned piece by the Festival, an immersive audio visual experience fuses Jazz, contemporary classical music and electronica into the beautiful setting of St Lukes church. Stunning 4k microscopic projections, an impressive lighting show, and a live jazz quartet unite to open this year's programme, asking us to examine what it is that connects, unifies and binds us. ‘Unity’ will be performed by The David Duffy Quartet comprising of four musicians on the fringes of Jazz.

And for those theatre buffs in the world, the Festival is also presenting a live theatre and jazz show, Requiem for Truth in Nano Nagles, Goldie Chapel. Truth, we are told, is dead. If so, then who organises the funeral? Stomptown Brass, the outrageously energetic 10-piece street-funk band, and Collapsing Horse, the most exciting young theatre company in Ireland, invite you to join them as they take on an audacious task: to host a funeral for the Truth. Witness the colourful exuberance of the Haitian Voodoo-inspired New Orleans jazz funeral as it smashes up against the mournful, solemn ceremony of Roman Catholicism. An extravagant, chaotic street party, with a dark twist.

A huge number of the musicians playing over the weekend will perform at free open air gigs on Emmet Place Plaza over the weekend, along with a Jazz Bites Food Fair keeping the masses fed on the finest of artisanal foods. Keep an eye out for our touring Jazz bus bringing jazz to the people through routes weaving through Cork, while down on the ground, all sorts of jazz and brass ensembles will bring the streets to life with impromptu walk abouts and New Orleans Jazz Funeral processions!


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Red Keane
Author: Red KeaneWebsite:
Red is the founder and creator of Jazz Ireland, he actively maintains and develops the Jazz Ireland website and is very active on its social networking profiles.
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