Dublin guitarist Chris Guilfoyle - one of the break out stars of the burgeoning Irish jazz scene - augments his superb Umbra quintet with three major names from the international scene: trailblazing Berlin vocalist Theo Bleckmann, adventurous Zurich trombonist Nils Wogram and much-respected New York saxophonist John O’Gallagher.


About the Sofa Sessions
Programmed by Kilkenny musician and Irish Times jazz critic Cormac Larkin, these weekly jazz sessions - in the intimate back room of the famous Billy Byrne's bar - have garnered an international reputation over the last five years, with big names in improvised music from around the world falling in love with the informal, listener-friendly venue.

This year, the Sofa Sessions comes to Kilkenny Arts Festival with a collaboration between some of the most creative musicians on the Irish and international jazz scenes, presenting both in a series of ‘club’ dates in the original room at Billy Byrne’s, and in a very special one-off concert in the Set featuring the full ensemble.

Theo Bleckmann
The hugely respected Berlin-born singer is one of the brightest vocal stars of the New York jazz scene. His 2011 release Hello Earth, an album of Kate Bush tunes, attracted rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and was one of the Irish Times' CDs of the Year.

Nils Wogram
The Zurich-based trombonist is one of the most important jazz musicians and composers in Europe, leading his own ground-breaking groups, including the critcally acclaimed Root 70.

John O'Gallagher
The New York alto saxophonist is hugely respected on both sides of the Atlantic, having collaborated with giants of the music like Joe Henderson, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler.

Chris Guilfoyle & Umbra
Guitarist and composer Chris Guilfoyle is one of the rising stars of Irish jazz, and his five-piece Umbra band features some of the best musicians to emerge from the prestigious jazz department at Newpark Music Centre (now DCU) in the last decade. The music is a blend of harmonic and melodic sophistication, reminiscent of artists like John Hollenbeck and Jim McNeely, with cyclical grooves evoking comparisons with IDM and math metal, all played with the raw energy of a punk band. 

arguably one of the most exciting jazz ensembles in Europe The Irish Times