Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cork Jazz Festival is looking interesting for 2010!

I met with some of the people organising the forthcoming Cork jazz Festival in October last week and I came away confident that this years event will even surpass last years one, which in my opinion, was the best festival in many years. The balance between commercial and artistic success at such a festival is always tricky, but in 2009 big acts such as Imelda May in the Savoy were backed by a host of others who filled different sized venues in one of the busiest jazz weekends since the 90’s.

Sun Ra Arkestra, Pharoah Sanders, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Dam-Funk and many more played very highly regarded shows, and notably, their was a very big travelling contingent from other Irish cities and indeed abroad. This year events is still quite a bit away but I can tell you that there is a strong possibility that Robert Glasper will be making his second appearance in Cork. The young pianist was not that well known the last time he came here, alongside Terence Blanchard, but he has become one of jazz’s biggest upcoming stars in recent years.

He will be joined by longtime musical collaborator Bilal, one of Philadelphias most under-rated singers. Glasper has already worked with most of the big hip-hop names; Erykah Badu, Common, Guru, Mos Def and even Dilla himself, who he has paid homage to on record, have all been in the studio with him. He is quite simply one of the most exciting names in jazz, and it will be amazing to see Bilal here too. The singers career has always been one step away from the big time, and his early high profile production from Dr Dre seemed to set him up nicely, but mostly he has kept it low-key and soulful. Everyone from Jill Scott to Common have been touched by his vocal magic, and himself and Robert Glasper in Cork would be a terrific prospect.

The fact that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings might be on the same bill sends the excitement levels into orbit but this is not confirmed as of yet. These guys are known to many as the backing band behind the success of Mark Ronson and indeed some of the Amy Winehouse material, but they are a lot more besides and are simply one of the best contemparary funk and soul outfits. In Sharon Jones they have a singer straight out of the James Brown era of funky divas so I’m keeping more than my fingers crossed that this show will happen.

I know the festival organisers are gonna do their best to try and get jazz legends such as Sonny Rollins and Pat Metheny here too so we can only live in hope; often with the veterans it is tricky trying to get the dates to match the October weekend. I’m confident we will be looking at another very interesting festival regardless.

Robert Glasper/Bilal

Sharon Jones and the Dap-KIngs

Here's some vids i took at last years festival at the Pavilion

This article originally appeared in my Downtown column in the evening Echo recently


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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at