Cork Jazz Festival: Cork, Ireland, October 26-28, 2012
In the break between the two parts of the double bill, it was advisable to catch the climax of veteran Long Island hip hoppers De La Soul's gig at Cork Opera House. Their set was literally reaching its apogee, with rappers Posdnuos and Dave bounding across the stage, their backing players in full flight. Then, the energy swooped even higher, as old member Maseo joined his co-founders, underlining that all's well within their ranks, even though he's lately been on hiatus from the band. Earlier in the evening, Maseo had been DJ-ing. Viewing from up in the circle gave a different perspective on the venue, as the whole spread of partying band and audience was laid out for our delectation.
Returning to the Everyman, the Miles Smiles All-Stars had just begun their set. The lineup was intriguing, binding together some less obvious player combinations. Despite the band's name, its orientation was more in line with the early-1970s electro-funk sound of Miles Davis, rather than their namesake 1967 album. Guitarist Larry Coryell contributed some of the most potent solos, tearing out some quite frighteningly atonal lead electric fireballs. Then, curiously, he entered a few bouts of seeming uncertainty, sitting down to play whispered rhythm, switching to acoustic, biding his time before the next scheduled eruption. His cohorts were trumpeter Wallace Roney, saxophonist Rick Margitza, organist Joey DeFrancesco, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Omar Hakim. Coryell may have been the dominant presence, but all of his band mates contributed frequent stand-out solos, with DeFrancesco rippling his keyboard muscles with particular relish.