Talking Jazz with John Daly

A Letter from Limerick

John Daly recalls the modest beginnings of a great jazz festival

When asked by Jazz Ireland to do a blog about the Limerick Jazz Festival, I thought it would be fitting to add some background history of what has been happening, jazz-wise, in Limerick over the past 38 years or so.

Limerick Jazz was founded in 1981 by a core group of dedicated jazz followers, who set in motion a jazz society which they probably never imagined would still be alive and well all these years later. Now recognised as the longest running jazz society on the island of Ireland, it has also proved to be one of the most productive. Having been quoted as “carrying well above its weight” on more than one occasion, it has brought some of the biggest names in jazz to the mid-west. Without the vision of the founders it’s hard to imagine jazz of this standard being a regular occurrence in the City.

Talking Jazz with Daniel Rorke

Chances are decent that if you are reading this on the Jazz Ireland website, you have already heard about the discovery, and pending release, of seven lost tracks recorded by John Coltrane's "classic quartet". Phrases like "a lost treasure" and "a revelation", such as have been used in newspapers and magazines to describe the find, are not hyperbole.

Simply, it is just objectively true to claim that this is the most important lost, and subsequently unearthed, Jazz recording in the history of the music.

This snapshot of the iconic quartet of Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophone, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones-possibly the most important drummer in the lineage of Jazz percussion-was  tracked during a busy period for the group. The band had a week’s engagement at Birdland over the same period, and the following day would return the the studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, to record the album John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. McCoy Tyner has recorded Nights of Ballads and Blues just two days previously. These guys were living in the music.

Talking Jazz with Sinéad Dunphy

The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival recently appointed Sinéad Dunphy to be Festival Director for 2018 and coming years, and here she writes of the adrenalin rush that has accompanied her appointment. She has broad experienced to bring to the job, having been involved in the arts for over 20 years as a performer, producer, director and event organiser at arts festivals, shows and events. She was the highly successful Festival Manager of the Cork International Choral Festival, increasing its international profile and seeing it double in size under her stewardship.

She attended UCC, gaining a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has worked with Cork City and County as an educator, and with the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She also runs her own production company where she teaches adults in acting and directing.

She sent us her thoughts on the upcoming challenges…….

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.