The festival with a sense of humour– The Irish Times
2016: Jazz Rising
A centenary celebration of rousing and rising, swinging and scatting at Down With Jazz this June Bank holiday weekend in Meeting House Square.
1916 set the scene for a new state for Ireland but also a new sound for the world. It was the birth of Jazz amongst the African-American communities in the United States, and the birth of a new state of mind for Ireland.
From tiny seeds to Giant Steps; Down With Jazz proclaims Free State. Free Jazz. Free Minds.
However, by the 1930s, while jazz flourished abroad, this musical liberation had become demonised by the Irish clergy as ‘devil’s music’, with both state and church colluding to have the music banned from the airwaves and dancehalls of our ‘sacred’ island. Would those culturally and socially oppressive attitudes of the ‘30s have existed if history had allowed us to hold fast to the ideals of the Proclamation?
Fast forward one hundred years of Ireland, and a century of Jazz, and there is plenty to celebrate in the Irish music scene. Contemporary and inclusive, Down With Jazz is a celebration for open minds and open ears. This 2-day festival welcomes musicians and music lovers of all persuasions, from funk to ‘free’, beatnik to the bayou Down With Jazz has line-up that reflects our diversity today.
Saturday night kicks off with Stephen McHale’s Weird Glitches, combining popular melodic simplicity and accomplished improvisational complexity. Award winning singer Edel Meade will perform a Musical Tribute to Lady Day, reminding us of the importance of American musical influence in Ireland and to celebrate the 100th birthday of Billie Holiday. Two-horns-no chords quartet ReDiviDer will represent our rebels, with downtown grooves, catchy melodies, collective improvisation and a punchy palindrome. Reminding us of the roots and wrapping up our first night will be Toot Sweet and the Shadow Man, an 8-piece New Orleans Funk Band.
Snowpoet, one of Lauren Kinsella’s many projects, will open day two of the festival with an alternative folky edge taking an improvised exploration through the complexities of the song structure. Matthew Halpin’s Last Chance Dance trio will then pay homage to traditional jazz through energetic and playful interpretations and expressive musicianship. Led with unique style and virtuosic technique and featuring some of Ireland’s leading musicians, the Richie Buckley Quintet will show the journey of jazz in Ireland through pure genius. Closing the festival with a fight for funk freedom, Zaska will give us one of their famous live performances with a feel good blend of Future Soul, Hip Hop and Funk.