Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, 28-31 October

Greg OsbyThe annual Guinness Cork Jazz Festival always seems to present a contrasting and near-unique programme that avoids largely duplicating concurrent events elsewhere, and this year's event, 28-31 October, is no exception.

The lineup includes the unusual combination of former pop singer Damon Albarn & Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea plus others in a tribute to west London record label Honest Jon's as well as Bill Evans' Soulgrass with Randy Brecker, Etienne Mbappé, Mitch Stein and others.

The often elusive former Jazz Messenger Bobby Watson leads an all-star quartet with pianist Bruce Barth (fêted in JJ recently for his recording from NY's Smalls club), solo guitar-tapping legend Stanley Jordan returns, and Kyle Eastwood has a quintet with Graemes Blevins and Flowers and pianist Andrew McCormack.

Greg Osby, veteran and pioneer of the 80s M-Base sound (pictured), appears with the Michael Janisch & Aruan Ortiz Quartet and saxophone whirlwind Marius Neset presents his band The Golden Xplosion.

Richard Galliano brings in his La Strada Quintet with John Surman, Dave Douglas, Boris Kozlov and Clarence Penn (see the ed's rave on their Ystad gig), jazz and fusion violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty plays with his quartet, the Ian Shaw group features veteran bassist Peter Ind, and there are shows and fringe events with a host of local talent. See the latest at

In advance of the festival proper, Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble appear the city's North Cathedral on 23 October.

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