Jazz Ireland Blog

The blog is dedicated to Irish Jazz and to the fans, musicians and venues that support it. if you have any content you would like to add to the blog please get in touch.

Miles Davis masterpiece gets the full orchestral treatment

Kind of Blue – Orchestrated
Thursday 30 May, 8pm, National Concert Hall
RTÉ Concert Orchestra

Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue still heads up lists not just as one of the greatest ever jazz albums but one of the most extraordinary recordings of the 20th century. Now, 60 years on from its release, for the first time in Ireland this Miles Davis masterpiece gets the full orchestral treatment. Top jazz trumpeter Guy Barker has arranged the entire album, including orchestrating solos not only by Davis but by John Coltrane and Bill Evans. Who better to perform it than the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, an orchestra that has jazz in its DNA, with Barker himself conducting.

Along with the re-creation of a classic, the world premiere of concerto for soprano sax and orchestra by Dave Heath. Ray of Light has a contemporary feel with Celtic roots, and the soloist for that and companion piece Illumination is star sax player from Derry Gerard McChrystal.

Guy Barker, one of the most inventive jazz composers/arrangers around, has worked with an incredible roll-call of names, among them Sinatra, Mel Tormé and Sting. But when the BBC approached him about orchestrating Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, he wasn’t sure it would work.

What gave him his way in was an experience he had playing trumpet with Gil Evans, longtime arranger for Davis. One night for an encore, Evans distributed the score for So What and Barker discovered that what he’d always assumed to be an improvised introduction by pianist Bill Evans had actually been composed by Gil. ‘Suddenly that intro, played on 15 instruments, took on a whole other dimension. It became very noble-sounding and quite beautiful.’  Barker began to wonder what would happen if he orchestrated solos like Bill Evans’ on Flamenco Sketches and John Coltrane’s tenor sax on Blue in Green ‘and it seemed to work. I realised I could do it.’

It certainly worked. As London Jazz News wrote of the first performance:

Guy Barker has unlocked this tight small-combo music and expanded it into a considerable treasure trove of playing and experimentation…Barker’s achievement here is considerable, remaining true to the sparse aesthetic of the original small group sessions while making valid use of the combined forces of a jazz orchestra and a classical chamber orchestra. What could have been cumbersome and overblown is fleet, ecstatic, enthralling. 


Barker conducts the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Kind of Blue – Orchestrated, Thursday 30 May, National Concert Hall.

Tickets: €12­–€39.50
Booking: 01 417 0000 / www.nch.ie 

Jazz Mine No. 203 Saturday 13th. April 2019 with guest jazz, soul & gospel singer Raimonda

On this episode of Jazz Mine Sean talks to Gospel, Soul and Jazz Singer Raimonda from Lithuania who is based in Ireland. You will hear a live performance from Raimonda as well as some of her recordings. More tracks from George Benson, Jaimeo Brown. Phil McDermott Quintet and Joe Locke..........Saturdays 5PM on dublincityfm.ie

Email : with any comments, suggestions. etc. Thanks.

Tales from the far Side 11.04.2019 Preview of 2019 Bray Jazz Festival

On this edition I preview the upcoming Bray Jazz Festival with a selection of music by some of the appearing artists including John Scofield, Tommy Halferty, Norma Winstone, Fred Hersch, Fire! and others

Ballydehob Jazz Festival Officially Launched

Ballydehob The Little Village with the Festive Hearthas officially been launched on April 2nd with a jam packed Crane Lane Theatre. The Ballydehob Jazz Festival rolls out another outstanding programme featuring International Concert HeadlinersIrish Supremos, a Live Music Trailall Weekend, Dance and Art Workshops, & the return of the Giant Puppets in the New Orleans Jazz Funeral Parade!! This years Festival, now in its 13th year, and entirely community driven is bigger and even bolder - over 50 Performances, 4 Days, 11 Venues… all in one gorgeous West CorkVillage.

Jazz Mine No. 202 Saturday 6th. April 2019 incl. Xavier Cugat Orchestra

On this episode of Jazz Mine you can hear fro such artists as Xavier Cugat Orchestra, Django Reinhardt, Tony Kofi, Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet, Equinox, Kenny Burrell, Ramsey Lewis, Jim Hall, BBC Big Band, Christine Tobin & Miguelito Valdes and more.........Saturdays 5PM on dublincityfm.ie

Email : with any comments, suggestions. etc. Thanks.

Tales from the far Side 04.04.2019 Jazz between the April showers

On this edition I would like to bring you into the month of April with some "Sunshine-Jazz" between the April Showers. Jazz for the sunny side of love and life with Chris Barber, Mel Torme, Lee Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hasll, Ron Carter, Andy Bey, Stuff Smith, Billy Bang, Billie Holiday, Oscar Moore and others

The Hot Box #041 – A Vocal Affair - Jazz Podcast with Donald Helme

The Hot Box 41 is very much so a vocal affair with truly exceptional quality singing over the hour with artists from America, Paris and Ireland. This Hot Box contains all new releases form the last few months. You can hear from artists such as Liv Monaghan, Carmel McCreagh, Cecile Mclorin Salvant, Connie Han, Tony Bennet and Aleka to name a few.

Sign up for our Newsletter     Subscribe Now

Conntect with Us:

Don't miss a thing!

Stay up to date with the latest events, blog articles,
reviews and updates from Jazz Ireland. 

No Spam! It's a promise.