Fusing jazz and club music for unique Festival event

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

This year’s Galway Jazz Festival presents yet another fascinating bill, with acts from Moscow, Florence and Oslo due to perform in Galway from next Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October, 8. That said, there’s also something from closer to home to pique the interest. Coming to the city’s Blue Note on Friday next, October 6, North Galway is a collaboration between DJ Cyril Briscoe and Festival director Matthew Berrill.  With four other musicians joining them, the pair will present a fusion of jazz and club music.

“Myself and Matt Berrill have spoken about music, on and off, for a long time,” Cyril says. “We finally came up with this idea to collaborate. We figured out what musical landscape we could explore that would be fun and rewarding and that an audience might find interesting. But how do you do this? How do you have a DJ interact with a jazz ensemble, who are prone to improvisation, while a DJ plays something that is strictly pre-ordained?”

With Eimhín Craddock on drums, Seán Maynard Smith on bass, Colm O’Hara on trombone, and Cathal Berkley on sax, North Galway made this experiment a reality when they made their live debut in July.

“It was different,” Cyril says. “For starters, we did it outside at 7 in the evening. The normal time to gig is around 10, it’s inside, it’s dark and there’s a different kind of audience. This is probably targeted at more of a listening audience than a dancing one.”

So how does the collaboration work – do they segue from Cyril’s DJ-ing into live music?

“No, it’s us altogether, all the time!” Cyril says.  “Myself, Eimhín and Seán are like an enhanced rhythm section – that’s probably the easiest way to put it. There are lots of outfits where you have musicians playing with DJs – and I’ve done that myself – and it’s really good for dancing. This is different, in that I’m not playing records but I’m using stuff that’s embedded into the rhythm section.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.