Mary Coughlan, Christine Tobin and Phil Robson – Limerick Jazz Festival headliners

This year's Limerick Jazz Festival is a very different affair to what usually takes place. Happening both online and in-person the organisers have gone the extra mile to make things happen at all. Last year marlbank checked the festival out for the …

Published: 10 Sep 2020. Updated: 2 months.

This year's Limerick Jazz Festival is a very different affair to what usually takes place. Happening both online and in-person the organisers have gone the extra mile to make things happen at all. Last year marlbank checked the festival out for the first time and discovered there one of the very best music venues anywhere in Dolan's Warehouse where this year the live element is focused on a Sunday programme with the Joe O’Callaghan Trio, Michael Buckley’s House of Horns, Christine Tobin and Phil Robson and a first Limerick Jazz Festival appearance for Mary Coughlan. The 2020 festival has a significant online element featuring among others Linley Hamilton, Chris Guilfoyle’s Oxygen Thief, Paul Dunlea, Matthew Berrill, Eddie Lee, David O’Rourke and John Donegan. Limerick also hosts the final of the Young Irish Jazz Musician 2020 in University Concert Hall, Limerick, the first of what the organisers hope to be an annual event. Dates for the festival are 21-27 September. The festival website is here

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Big band side of Django Bates tantalises on Tenacity

There are very few people who can without any fear of embarrassment at the sheer effrontery of coming up with a name be called a genius. One of these lucky few is certainly Django Bates, the English pianist and composer who, and this defeats me to …

Published: 9 Sep 2020. Updated: 2 months.

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There are very few people who can without any fear of embarrassment at the sheer effrontery of coming up with a name be called a genius. One of these lucky few is certainly Django Bates, the English pianist and composer who, and this defeats me to write because he always seems so youthful, is 60 next month. This afternoon I've been listening to Tenacity, his new big band album, a studio album recorded in Sweden, the release of which chimes with this milestone of his birthday and the centenary of his childhood hero Charlie Parker.

It is a wonderful freewheeling affair that anyone into big band jazz will have to hear. With Django there is always a sense of mischief, intense, anarchic detail and a puckish joie de vivre combined with an almost Spike Milligan sense of humour. Over the years I've interviewed him several times and the last time caught up with him was five years ago when he was writing some music for a stage version of Around the World in 80 Days.

This new project has a whole collision of things going on with alongside him his acclaimed Beloved trio and for extra beef the Norbotten big band. The material is at once very familiar to Charlie Parker fans but at the same time full of signature Bates touches in the arranging that has the atmosphere of a raucous circus as much as a smoky 1940s jazz club and this is combined in terms of material with some of Django's fantastic writing including the beautiful 'Study of Touch'. Reasons to be cheerful? At least 60 or so. Tenacity is released in October on Django's Lost Marble label.