Check it out... then go blazin' a Jazz Trail around Cork!

Downtown has it sussed
Check it out... then go blazin' a Jazz Trail around Cork!

The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival trail is the biggest concentration of live music in the city, it’s probably harder to find a bar without music than with, Ronan Leonard sifts through the listings to highlight some free concerts, covering a huge array of styles, that he recommends.


Thursday night sees Two Time Polka bring their Cajun-Zydeco-Rock and Roll band to the The Poor Relation at 9pm. One of the band’s album’s titles, ‘Pana To Louisiana’, gives you a great insight to their sound.

rsday night sees Two Time Polka bring their Cajun-Zydeco-Rock and Roll band to the The Poor Relation at 9pm. One of the band’s album’s titles, ‘Pana To Louisiana’, gives you a great insight to their sound.FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25

Moving onto Friday we’ll start with some after-work gigs; last year Paul Dunlea was The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival’s first ever Artist in residence and he will be playing with his quartet in Crawford & Co on Anglesea Street at 5pm, he is one of the most sought after Jazz musicians in the country, and a perfect example of the quality musicianship you can see for free on the trail. If you stay on after his gig for a little bit at 8.30pm in the same venue, The Cork City Fire Brigade Pipe Band will be turning up to play, they caused quite a stir on social media when videos of their energetic performance there emerged last year.At 6pm in Bru Bar on MacCurtain Street, The Jabin Ward Trio shall be playing in the long-standing tradition of real time composition in Jazz; they share a collective love of the work of Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk and having been wowing the audiences through the country with Bass, Drums and Tenor Sax combination.


For those who’d like to jazz at lunchtime, the recently reopened Kino - where this entire trail was launched a few weeks ago - will be hosting The Blue Note sessions, which celebrates the legacy of the great Blue Note record label which was so influential in the development of recorded jazz throughout the 50’s and 60’s. The event showcases some of Corks finest musicians playing tunes from classic, originally recorded by the likes of John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Herbie Hancock to name but a few .

The Art Crimes Band, play a wide range of R’n’b, Soul and Funk and I’d suggest you go see them in The Woodford on Paul Street at 4pm, they will be debuting some new originals songs as they continue on their next album, since they are testing them out with audiences your dancing and reactions to the songs will be like some sort of focus group! Like most of the acts mentioned here are playing several times around the city over the weekend - so if you like the sound of them check their facebook pages for other details.

Or at the same time, you could do as James Brown proclaimed and ‘Take It To The Bridge’ by going to see The Five Spot Quartet will be playing a range of jazz from Be-Bop to Fusion at The Bridge Bar, with the classic guitar, rhodes, bass and drum line up at The Bridge Bar. (They play the same venue on Sunday from 6.30pm)At 10pm in the Poor Relation, one of the freshest and most ambitious cover bands in Cork, The Love Movement, will be performing the music of A Tribe Called Quest, they debuted only a few months ago and have already had a host of bookings, with two live drummers their reproduction of that classic hip-hop sound is second to none.Another band to make a note of is Whoa Mama who will be playing at 11pm in Coughlans, they only made their debut last year and have already a great live reputation for their accomplished and fun delivery of much-loved classics by acts as varied as Moloko, ABBA, The Cardigans, Jamiroquai and The Bangles.


Barry Wilson plays The Crane Lane at 4:30pm, and he will be joined by several singers and his cracking band as they perform songs from his debut album ‘Portraits’, a great collection of original Jazz, Funk and Neo Soul music, which he released recently after three years of recording and collaborating in several studios around the world.

At 5pm one of the biggest traditions of the city’s gig trail is Pontious Pilate & The Naildrivers playing An Brog, they have played there during the festival well over twenty times. While best known for being Ireland’s best Ska and Punk cover band they have also recently released some fantastic original material which stands up well against the other songs on their setlist.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 28On The Monday, things start early in Crawford & Co, with brunch and Children’s storytelling and arts and crafts at 1pm with Live music starting in the afternoon. Just up the road at 5pm is Tijuana Moods who will be playing music by and inspired by Charles Mingus in Coughlans.

Then at 7pm in Crane Lane, the 17 piece Cork City Jazz Orchestra will be playing, they will be joined by various vocalists, who will have been gracing stages throughout the city over the previous few days.

Of course the flip side to all this live music are DJs, and some of Cork’s best and brightest are in full swing around the city too, on Friday Dim The Lights will be celebrating their 3rd birthday with guests ‘County Vinyl’ in Poor Relation from 9pm on Friday, they promise a range of “sleazy disco, house chuggers and various other dancefloor goodness.”

On Sunday BDSM will have their last ‘Cook Out’ day of the year, from 3pm till close DJs such as Daddy Can and Jus’ Me provide a range of music while there is a big grill cooking, these all day events never fail to be a great musical occasion.

Also that night Ian Fiasco and friends will be hosting a Northern Soul night, as an afterparty to Martha Reeves & The Vandella’s concert, instead of everybody ‘dancing in the street’ they will be in The Grocers at Crawford & Co.

And if for some reason you are still going on Monday morning at 7am the Mutton Lane will open their doors for DJ Lisa Oh to play a party for all comers, it has very quickly become an annual tradition for the Jazz Festival bar workers and partiers alike.

Finally I’d like to point out to you the Jazz Festival’s Fringe section; it features a host of outdoor concerts - ideal for families and those who might like to stay out of bars; lectures on various jazz subject and of course the annual open air food market. All the details for that can be found via

Please check all the venues’s facebook pages in case of time changes etc.

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