Tag Archives: jazz

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival – holy wow

Tuesday morning was tough. Not so much the alarm going off or the early start, more the realisation I was no longer in Cork. Not my first Guinness Cork Jazz Festival weekend but my first time really throwing myself into it and I absolutely loved it.

From the sound of musicians rehearsing floating down the hotel hallway to the mixture of ages and cultures of those attending the various gigs around the city it was a fantastic inspiring experience helped in no small way by the fact that Cork is by far the best city in Ireland (there will be an entire post about that alone!).


YolanDa Brown
YolanDa Brown

My favourite gig over the entire weekend was saxophonist YolanDa Brown on Sunday at The Savoy. I danced and swayed my way happily through set and can’t wait to get my mits on her album. She’s gorgeous, she’s energetic and a seriously talented musician. Herself and her band get top marks for their rendition of Summertime – a song that naturally appeared on setlists all through the weekend. If you’re not sure where to begin with trying your ear at some jazz, start with YolanDa.

Yurodny took to the stage of the beautiful Everyman Palace Theatre on Saturday afternoon. A lively and masterful performance from the Dublin-based ensemble of strings, wind and percussion with their Eastern European influences shining through.

On Saturday evening, the Monty Alexander Trio opened for Kurt Elling. A lovely mellow sound created with drum, bass and piano with Jamaican and American influences woven throughout, they delivered a superb set that seemed to please both the jazz connoisseur and the passing admirer. Notable moments included their gorgeous version of No Woman No Cry and a nice bit of improv featuring the Beverly Hills Cop theme tune.

My first adventures in swing dancing were interesting and lots of fun at Harlem Night 1930 where swing dance moves were demonstrated on stage to swing newbies (like myself). Most of the crowd were quite into their swing dancing and were amazing to watch in their gorgeous 30′s outfits.

Jazz mass‘ was probably one of the more bizarre experiences of the weekend with Danish band Bla Mondag and an African gospel choir interwoven into the service at the famous St. Anne’s Church at Shandon.


No festival with such a huge volume of stuff is without disappointments here and there. I hit mine on Saturday night at Kurt Elling at the Everyman. While it was billed as one of the ‘not to be missed’ gigs of the weekend, I felt it was more of an endurance than an experience. As I said in my tweets, his singing was flat and the improv too long-winded and uninspiring. Hats off to his grammy award-winning saxophonist – amazing musician – just a shame he didn’t see more of the limelight.

Despite the fact the festival is always held on the October Bank Holiday weekend, some things like hotel and drink prices seem to get rather inflated. For example, a paper cup of filter coffee at the Festival Club was a slightly saucy €3 and in another venue (can’t recall where, there were many!) a quarter bottle of red wine was €6.

So much to see, hear & do

Harlem Nights 1930
Harlem Nights 1930

I quite honestly can’t recall all the bands and singers I listened to over the weekend, mainly with the sheer volume of stuff on at the Festival Club at the Metropole. The Festival Club consisted of 5 ballrooms in one huge hotel constantly rotating through a huge schedule of jazzy acts from lunchtime till the early hours. There almost wasn’t a door in the city be it theatre, pub, hotel or even shop that didn’t have some kind of jazz flowing out of it either!

Apart from the quick swing dancing lesson at the Firkin Crane, I didn’t get a chance to try out any of the workshops, masterclasses or check out the festival fringe events.

Cork is a fantastic city and the  Jazz Festival just seems to set the place alight. It was simply buzzing with energy, happy faces and tapping toes (and possibly the odd sore head too!). It’s a wonderful weekend, even for someone like me who has always been more of an ‘all genres of music’ enthusiast than a jazz fan.

Darragh has some superb videos and photos in the production pipeline, I’ll leave him to put into his own words how his first Cork Jazz Festival was suffice to say I think we’ll both be doing our best to get back there for the Cork Jazz Festival 2010!

Thanks to WHPR and Guinness for everything over the weekend and congrats to all involved on a wonderful festival.

Saturday afternoon at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

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So far so great. The Festival Club has provided most of my jazz so far today with 5 ballrooms in the roomy Gresham Metropole continuously rotating between a phenomenal list of acts and bands all day and almost all night too!

The Garda Jazz band played to a packed room of young and old an everyone between while prior to that Yurodny brought the house down at The Everyman with an Eastern European flavour incorporating string, brass and percussion.

Looking forward to Kurt Elling and some more Festival Club later – much dancing to be done!

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

logoIt’s hard to believe it’s been a year since my first Jazz Festival weekend but here we are once again, it’s the October Bank Holiday weekend and time to hit Cork for one of the best weekends of music & entertainment.

Darragh has given a run down of some of the tasty jazzy action on offer over on his blog. I’m going to offer up some more practical advice, kind of like your mammy might do as you head off to your first music festival.


If you’re heading to Cork specifically to check out the festival, even at this late stage, try to get some kind of a plan together. There’s so much stuff on it can be a little overwhelming and like me last year, you can spend the weekend hopping from place to place hitting and missing the music. Have a look at what’s on and tick a few boxes.


While a lot of the gigs are free, some still require tickets. Others you will need to purchase in advance either online or from the venues around town. Cork Jazz weekend is a very popular event and tickets get snapped up quickly so if you’ve your eye on a particular gig, get your tickets sorted in advance asap to avoid disappointment.


Possibly one more for the attention of the ladies headed out this weekend :) The Jazz Festival gigs and events are spread out over many different venues all over Cork. It’s quite likely that over the weekend or even just one night, you’re going to be rambling from pillar to post around the city and those poor little tootsies are going to be under pressure. If you simply can’t do without your fabulous new stilettos maybe pop a wee pair of flats in the handbag too.


One of the highlights from last year (while not strictly under the Jazz Festival umbrella) was the Oktoberfest experience at the Franciscan Well pub & micro-brewery. Expect to find a fantastic selection of fine beers from the continent to delight your tastebuds while munching on something just as tasty from the yummy outdoor barbecue. Be warned however, it’s a popular spot and the good folk at the Franciscan regulate numbers through the evening so if you want in, be there by early evening.

I’ll be hopping about from gig to gig over the weekend and hopefully calling into the Oktoberfest for a Tweet-up too! Keep an eye on #corkjazz on Twitter for photos and updates. See you out there!