THE Sally Gardens this weekend will be jazzing it up as they host a jazz festival from Friday evening all the way through to Monday afternoon. Jazz Freaks will be performing at 9pm on Friday evening, the Cluskey Hopkins Jazz Band will be playing from 4pm to 7pm on Saturday and Soulset will finish Saturday’s festivities. Jazz Mania are playing from 4pm to 7pm on Sunday and will be back agin to play on Monday from 4pm.
The Cluskey Hopkins Jazz Band are visiting Portlaoise for the first time in many years. The world renowned band are part of Ireland’s original Guinness Jazz band. These musicians who are regarded in Jazz circles as one of the top attractions in European jazz are looking forward to their Portlaoise date.
Jazzmania are a locally based jazz trio, all former members of the renowned Guinness Jazz Band who were an integral part of the Festival and Racing scene over many years. The band is made up of Paddy Walsh on sax, clarinet and trumpet, Mick Monahan on drums and vocals, and John Hosey on keyboards and vocals.
Keeping very much in the Guinness Jazz tradition the lads play a very lively mix of popular Jazz standards ranging from Dixieland to Big Band favourites to more contemporary standards with a Jazzy flavour. The lads insist that the old favourites never die and playing to the audience is a must so be prepared to get up and dance when the lads strike up because the strong melodies and infectious rhythms will drag you onto the floor. Joining the lads for this very special occasion are special guest artists Tom Cooney on trombone and Jim Walsh on bass, both formerly of the Trad Dads and Guinness Jazz fame.
Following their formation last year, Soulset have burst on to the Portlaoise music scene with their lively and energetic sets marking them as a must see group. The band have gone from strength to strength over the past few months, drawing inspiration from the likes of Otis Redding, James Brown and Wilson Pickett. Band members include plenty of well known local musicians - John Tynan, Cormac Fitzpatrick, Alan Smyth, Angi McNulty, Sinead Winters, Liam Kielthy, Declan Dunne, John Baba Scanlon and Omar Mahfoud. For more check out Sallys on Facebook.