Since the demise of RTE Lyric’s Jazz Alley, which broadcast every week from the first weekend of the station’s existence until it was axed at the end of 2015, there has been no regular national programme devoted to jazz. The Hot Box aims to fill that gap with former Jazz Alley presenter Donald Helme.
The Hot Box sets the best of Irish recorded jazz in the wider context of the universal language that is jazz worldwide. It tries to emphasise accessability and sheer enjoyment, and is building an audience well beyond the shores of its home country.
This time around the jazz hour has some swing classics and samples from two new albums that amount to “jazz archaeology”. A compilation of 1930’s recordings by very underappreciated trumpeter and singer Valaida Snow, and a - literally - lost session by the NEA Jazz Master - Sheila Jordan.
This episode also breaks the record for the number of tracks played in a Hot Box!
The exploration of the Guitar Files reaches the Letter E in the 72nd edition of The Hot Box and although few in number, guitarists in this file are very big in reputation, especially for those of us who like the straight-ahead, post bebop styles.
The next edition of The Hot Box will be posted in about 2 weeks, and the next Guitar File (the letter F) in September.
A great mix of big band and a nod in the direction of classical influences in jazz, with the first time on Hot Box, tracks from Maria Schneider’s multi-award winning masterpiece Data Lords. And the very last piece of the jigsaw puzzle that enveloped the Jazz Worms.
In this edition we head into the Guitar Files once again, focusing on the letter D. It’s a sparse file, so we’ve looked back and found a couple of fine players omitted from the C file, and looked forward with an appetiser for the E file to come…….
And we talk some about the Fund for Phil as well as two other funding endeavours for Nigel Mooney’s upcoming album and Jazz Ireland.
In the 69th episode of The Hot Box we follow the trail of the Jazz Worms, only to find it leads back to The Fox Inn at Ashbourne, County Meath, via Denver, Colorado. The Worms have just released their second album - after a pause of 30 years!
The 69th Hot Box also features music by Brazilian pianist and arranger Antonio Adolfo, and some previously unreleased music from Wes Montgomery and also from the German big band leader Kurt Edelhagen.
In this series of glimpses into the world of jazz guitar, Hot Box 68 finds perhaps the most important guitarist of them all - Charlie Christian. He was born in 1916 and sadly died of tuberculosis when just 25 years old, but he’d already established the amplified guitar as a permanent part of the instrumental repertoire of jazz, and gone part of the way in leading jazz out of the Swing Era and into Bebop and modern jazz.
Other prominent players in the “C” file include Larry Coryell, Steve Cardenas and Philip Catherine.
After the last edition of Hot Box Xtra, remembering the great Chick Corea (1941 - 2021), Donald Helme returns to some “New Stuff“ with a varied programme from jazz-funk to lush vocals, from the valedictory saxophone of Jimmy Heath to brilliant solo piano.