Regarded as one of the country’s flagship festivals it’s expected to attract huge crowds, many of who will be jazz buffs from abroad.
The 37th festival kicked off in style last night as legendary French film composer Michel Legrand opened the jazz-oriented programme at The Everyman in a powerful double bill with Detroit jazz-diva Carla Cook, while Imelda May wowed the audience at Cork Opera House, in the first of a two-night stint.
The Opera House will also be home to The Frank and Walters 25th Birthday Show today; a Sharon Jones/Lee Fields double bill on Sunday, and The Drifters on Monday.
The festival is packed with many top names in the jazz, soul, funk, and indie worlds, including Dianne Reeves, Ginger Baker, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Carla Cook, and Ed Cherry.
Four times Grammy Award winner Reeves, makes her festival debut this evening in a double bill with support from US guitarist Cherry. The concert tomorrow evening will feature Ginger Baker of Cream fame and singer Carmen Lundy.
“Huge crowds are expected for the biggest weekend of the year,” festival artistic director Jack McGouran said.
“There are lots of overseas visitors in town which is terrific. We hope to equal the success of last year’s festival, which was the best in a decade, perhaps even beat it.”
Reflecting the eclectic nature of the festival programme, other artists include 2manydjs, Eton Messy, Jake Clemons, the Renegade Brass Band, and the Vanbrugh String Quartet.
The first of almost 1,000 musicians have arrived in Cork for the jazz event of the year at @corkjazzfest . Last tickets now on sale.— Guinness Cork Jazz (@corkjazzfest) October 22, 2014
Fans can also look out for hundreds of music sessions on the Guinness Music Trail featuring diverse sounds in 50 pubs, clubs, and hotels, citywide, with the vast majority free.
Top names on the trail include Don Baker, Hermitage Green, Dublin Afrobeat Ensemble, and Rob Strong.
Meanwhile, the Festival Club at the Gresham Metropole Hotel will feature a wide range of music — from jazz to funk, groove, and more — with bands from all over Europe performing on four stages, day and night.
Triskel Christchurch will host several jazz and crossover artists, including gypsy guitarist Lulo Reinhardt and Norwegian jazz superstar Håkon Kornstad.
For full festival details and to buy tickets, see guinnessjazzfestival.com.