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.
In The Hot Box #037 we check out two of the new albums that have come our way in recent months, wrapping the whole thing in a legendary Guitar Night which features Andreas Varady, John Scofield, Louis Stewart, Tommy Halferty and Frank Vignola among others.
In The Hot Box Episode 36 we continue to trawl the files piano players who have graced the jazz stage over the past century or so, and the letter M proved especially fruitful. Last time (Hot Box#34) we had Monk and Moran, now we come to Mehldau and McPartland.
In The Hot Box Episode 35 we find new recordings from several Irish jazz musicians and quite a few from the wide world as well. There are also two exceptional “archive” recordings never before released from Grant Green and Errol Garner.
The letter M is the most popular opener for surnames, and pianist aren’t excepted, so the M file is to spread over two shows, PLUS we complete the L file with popular Irish-based pianist and composer, Greg Lloyd. And - another double L, Lou Levy, one of the most revered vocal accompanists of all time.
There’s a Latin feel to the Hot Box this time around, keeping company with the hot summer perhaps. And nearly all the music played is from brand new releases so we are literally, a HOT box. We also step into the re-creation of some of the oldest and most revered swing numbers, reimagined by an orchestra dedicated to that task, and pause to reflect on the music of a much loved New Orleans piano player of whom Steve Bernstein said, “No-one had a left hand like him, no-one on the planet. It was so strong and fast, and he had such control of every part of it”. Check out his version of Basin Street Blues in this Hot Box.
Episode 32 of The Hot Box in which we find ourselves surrounded by piano players whose names mysteriously begin with the same letter…..L. It’s a rich collection however, from boogie to brilliance, from archived to current, so tune in now………
In the 31st episode of The Hot Box, Donald Helme plays all-new material from a range of sources including some of the best new releases from Ireland. Music from Dublin based quartet Åtsch, and the veteran Irish pianist working in Britain, John Donegan with his quintet.
And further afield, you’ll find some stunning new music from Venezuelan composer Edward Simon, from veteran pianist Kenny Barron and an extraordinary historic performance by the great Dizzy Gillespie recorded in 1978 but just issued.