Headlining Ireland’s premier annual celebration of jazz is Brazilian pianist Eliane Elias. In a long and distinguished career, the New York-based pianist and vocalist has recorded over twenty albums as a leader and has collaborated with pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Michael Brecker and guitarist/singer Gilberto Gil. Equally conversant in classical, bossa nova and jazz idioms, Elias’ undoubted technical expertise never overshadows the strong emotional vein in her playing.
A Grammy nominee and winner of Downbeat’s Best Jazz Album, Elias appears in her trio alongside legendary bassist Marc Johnson—pianist Bill Evans’s last bassist—and guitarist Steve Cardenas. The Bray crowd is in for a treat and can expect to hear compositions from Elias acclaimed album Swept Away (ECM, 2012) as well as from her forthcoming release, I Thought about You (Concord Jazz, 2013) – the pianist/singer’s tribute to trumpeter Chet Baker. Elias and her trio will perform in the Mermaid Arts Center on Sunday 5th May. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Other festival highlights include innovative guitarist Christy Doran’s New Bag, which incorporates elements of jazz, electronica and progressive rock in a fascinating mix - watch out for Doran’s much talked about Swiss vocalist Sarah Buechi, whose THALi scored such a big hit at the 12 Points Festival in Dublin in February. French trumpeter Mederic Collignon is another gig not to be missed. He brings his idiosyncratic talents to reinterpretations of the music of trumpeter Miles Davis and progressive rock band King Crimson.
Musicians from Turkey, Serbia, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and America are testament not only to jazz’s universal identity, but to the global vision of Bray Jazz Festival. Local talent is represented by saxophonist Michael Buckley’s band and one of Ireland’s most original outfits, the multi-national Yurodny.
Over forty concerts, recitals, free gigs and workshops will serve up jazz and good vibes galore in Bray, Ireland’s oldest seaside town, nestled at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains just a short trip from Dublin. It promises to be a great weekend for lovers of jazz and creative music.