Hot licks, boogie woogies, and jive-talkin’ Janes — it has to be the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.
For the whole weekend, the city was flooded in a slightly different way than usual — the streets overflowing with thousands of cool-cat revellers, back in town for one of the country’s most enjoyable celebrations.
Day and night, no matter how faint the tune, there was music everywhere, with the dulcet tones of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Ol’ Blue Eyes wafting in the autumn air. Almost every bar and venue in Cork City got in on the act, with heavyweights such as The Everyman, Cyprus Avenue, and Triskel Christchurch showing their jazz hands like never before.
More than 1,000 musicians performed to tens of thousands in the eager audience.
Sultry scat songstress Dianne Reeves taught hearts to sing, while the eclectic Renegade Brass Band took the funk / hip-hop/jazz fusion to a whole new level.
One of the most overlooked highlights was tucked away in the Old Oak, where Dutch group The Busquitos showcased their energetic and highly eccentric style of comedic jazz — jumping into the crowd at every opportunity, kidnapping audience members and staging mock weddings.
James Fennelly, a self-confessed jazz junkie from Waterford, said: “These guys are insane. This is the third time I’ve seen them so far this weekend and it hasn’t gotten old yet. They’re nuts!”
For the slightly more reserved movers and shakers, Cork’s Opera House boasted an impressive line-up featuring none other than ‘Little James Brown’ himself, Lee Fields.
Boogie woogie babe Imelda May turned the venue ‘inside out’ on Thursday and Friday, while love was in the air for the Frank and Walters’ spectacular 25th Anniversary Show on Saturday night.
Fiona O’Donovan from West Cork said the atmosphere was “electric”. Once again, the Gresham Metropole was party central, with four stages featuring a mix of soul, blues, jazz, and funk.
Eleanor O’Driscoll from Douglas, Cork, and André Draszik, from Germany, both celebrated their birthdays at the venue, with Eleanor joking they would get an extra hour out of it because of the clocks going back.
André said: “Yeah it’s nice, we’re having a great time for sure. It’s a very mixed crowd and there’s a great atmosphere here.”
Clemens Tinnefeld, also from Germany, came over for the weekend to attend the festival with some friends, one of whom was Patrick Hegarty from Schull.
Patrick said: “I didn’t really know what to expect but we’re having a good time.”
Never a truer word was spoken as, come closing time, the hooch hopped-up crowd inevitably descended upon the pulsating streets of Cork city, creating fever right through the night.
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