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.
After the great reaction to Hot Box 96, we decided to do a second edition devoted to the fantastic 42 volume series of solo piano recitals known as the Maybeck Series. Recorded over 6 years from 1990 to 1996, the concerts took place in the wood lined hall designed by the now iconic architect Bernard Maybeck, with just 50 seats in the audience and a perfectly tuned Yamaha grand piano.
Long unavailable on LP or CD it is now available on Spotify, but here Donald takes us through more of the stellar pianists who featured - Gerry Wiggins, Toshiko Akyoshi, Cedar Walton and more.
This an all-piano affair that marks the re-release (on Spotify) of all 42 albums recorded in the 90’s, of the solo piano recitals branded as The Maybeck Recitals. Recorded by the independent Concord Jazz label, they present a who’s who of jazz pianists of the last decade of the last century. The real biggies aren’t there - the Herbie Hancocks, the Oscar Petersons - perhaps Concord couldn’t afford their fees - but taken overall the recordings represent a diversity of brilliance. From stride to modernism.
Some great new music that’s what. Two from America, one from Belgium, and two from Ireland.
The album Tim Fitzgerald’s Full House was awarded to Daniel Cervigni who emailed , and now you can contact Donald to “win” the copy of Chick Corea’s Acoustic Band double album “Live”, which marks the second anniversary of Chick’s death.
The Box goes abroad this time, heading south east to Italy, where some exceptional and distinctive jazz can be found. In this edition we highlight the marked attention to lyricism which informs so much Italian jazz, as though perhaps the traditions of Italy’s great classical tradition and opera lie beneath much of the contemporary jazz scene. We start however at the inception of jazz in Italy, banned as it was by the Fascist regime in the 1930s.
The 92nd Hot Box is hot with guitars all the way. And there’s a reason. The new album from Chicago-based guitarist Tim Fitzgerald. Better still, you could become the lucky owner of a copy. An album that has been Album of the Month in Downbeat with a four and a half star review! So check in to the Box and see how you could get lucky!