Galway Jazz Festival begins tonight

Trygve Seim.

Trygve Seim.

THE CITY is in for a treat with a weekend of jazz from leading practitioners of the genre from Norway, Germany, Italy, and Ireland at the Galway Jazz Festival which runs from this evening up to Sunday night.

The festival kicks off tonight at 8pm with Norway’s Trygve Seim Orchestra in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church. Saxophonist Seim will by joined by two of Norway’s other great jazz musicians, trumpeter Arve Henriksen and accordionist Frode Haltli. The Guardian has described their concerts thus: “Seim's subtle and sumptuous overlaying of textures creates a sense of constant evolution… Eerily hymnal contemporary jazz from a unique ensemble."

On Friday at 7pm New York vocalist/guitarist Rebecca Martin will play the Druid Lane Theatre, where she will be joined by Brad Mehldau bassist Larry Grenadier. This artfully understated singer, described by The New York Times as “momentous”, occupies her own terrain somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones.

That same evening at 9pm in The Crane Bar, there will be as show from Dublin’s Métier. The band feature the cream of young Irish jazz musicians with Michael Buckley (tenor saxophone ), Joe O’Callaghan (guitar ), Justin Carroll (piano ), Ronan Guilfoyle (bass ), and Sean Carpio (drums ). The Irish Times has described them as “a class act”.

Italy’s Francesco Turrisi Trio play the Druid Lane Theatre on Saturday at 7pm. Francesco Turrisi was formerly harpsichordist with acclaimed baroque ensemble l'Arpeggiata, and the music he plays with his trio (featuring bassist Dan Bodwell and drummer Seán Carpio ) draws inspiration from early music and Italian folk melodies. “The result is arresting and consistently beautiful work,” says All About Jazz.

London’s Polar Bear, “the most exciting development for years in post-jazz music,” according to BBC Music, play The Crane Bar on Saturday at 9pm. This Mercury nominated quintet meld indie-rock, clever jazz composition, and electronica mash ups that turn from delicate to abrasive in a heartbeat.

Sunday begins with a concert that is sure to be of interest to guitar fans when Buckley, Stowell, Feeley play the Druid Lane Theatre at 3.30pm. Dubliner Hugh Buckley is also back at the festival, with some impressive friends in tow for an exploration of the guitar world from both jazz and classical perspectives. The former is brought by John Stowell, the American guitarist who toured the Soviet Union with flautist Paul Horn, the latter from Ballinasloe born John Feely, Ireland’s premier classical guitarist.

Druid Lane Theatre is again the venue when Germany’s Julia Hülsmann Trio play at 7pm. The Bonn pianist has been a stellar figure of the German jazz scene for more than a decade, making rhythmically insistent music that is both poetic and approachable. She will be joined by Marc Muellbauer (bass ) and Heinrich Kobberling (drums ).

Rounding off the festival is Matt Berrill’s Galway Allstars at The Crane at 9pm featuring Matt Berrill (alto saxophone ), Aengus Hackett (guitar ), Conor Cantrell (trumpet ), Dan Bodwell (bass ), and Sean Carpio (drums ) - in short, some of the best jazz musicians in Galway.

Tickets for all events available from the Town Hall Theatre at or 091 - 569777 and on the door at the various gigs. A special festival pass for all shows is available for €80.


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