Talking Jazz with Donald Helme

Venues for jazz music come and go, generally because the owner of the venue gets tired of scrambling for enough audience to make money, or the old owner moves on and the new owner would rather build a block of flats on the site. The Fox Inn, at Ballymadun just outside Ashbourne, County Meath was one such venue, and I am put in minded to recount this particular Unreliable Memory by the death, in New York on November 22, of the singer and lyric writer extraordinaire, Jon Hendricks, at the fine old age of 96.

Jon had two week-long residencies at The Fox Inn in the late 1960’s, at a time when he was living, for about 5 years, in Britain. He was a veritable fount of jazz wisdom, extremely funny on and off stage, and he exuded an enthusiasm for life that was very infectious. That’s another way of saying that The Fox Inn was riotous when Jon was in town. Read on for a while and I will get around to further eulogising Mr Hendricks but first…..

Talking Jazz with Lily de Sylva

Back in 1977, while the rest of the world was busy discovering punk rock and the rings of Uranus, I made a couple of discoveries of my own; a long-lost uncle and, thanks to him, a whole new world of music.  We had just 2 records in our house, so our first visit to Uncle Denis was quite a shock to the system… in his living room, there was an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves stuffed with LPs, and almost all of them were jazz recordings.  Denis couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard any jazz before, and he had no doubt about the best way to get me started.  “You’ve got to listen to this!” he said, putting on Django Reinhardt et le Quintet du Hot Club de France.  30 seconds in, and I was hooked.

Talking Jazz with Emilie Conway

Irish jazz singer and composer / lyricist Emilie Conway with pianist Darragh Hennessy were invited to perform at the American Writers Museum, Chicago, The Village Trip, a new Greenwich Village festival, the American Irish Historical Society, in May to mark the centenary of writer Maeve Brennan, culminating in a performance in Greenwich Village's legendary Cornelia Street Cafe. On September 12 the Emilie Conway Quartet perform "You Won't Forget Me" Words & Music Celebrating Maeve Brennan with readings by Cathy Belton at the National Concert Hall.

Here Emilie records her impressions of the American trip ......

It might seem strange to have an English person, however well-intentioned and jazz-oriented I may be, writing Jazz Ireland’s first “think-piece”.  But I am assured that other contributors will follow in the fullness of time, such as bassist and researcher Damian Evans.  Well, actually he’s Australian, I know, but you get the point.  And it would be good to be told here of other existing Irish jazz blogs, such as the stimulating comments from Ronan Guilfoyle, and others that we may not know about so far.

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