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 epic series of alphabetical pianists started early in 2017 we reached the letter H, in Hot Box 21, only to find such a plethora of riches that they spilled over the confines of a single Box. As luck would have it, the letter I has very few incumbents so we are able, in Hot Box 23 to play the missing H’s - or at least most of them - and both the I’s. And speaking of the letter I, we couldn’t resist the temptation to play a very early “Capetown jazz” piece from the South African star Abdullah Ibrahim that runs a little over 15 minutes!
In this episode of The Hot Box we check out some new material from Lizz Wright, Sean Jones, Christian McBride’s Big Band, Julian Colarossi and John Keogh, The Carole Nelson Trio and the remarkable Cecile McLorin-Salvant. All that, and we join the celebrations for Jazz on the Terrace, that unique entity in the world of jazz, a promoter and presenter that has prospered for 35 years. Episode 22 is the most chilled Hot Box yet.
Once more we delve into the files to find pianists filed in alphabetical order. In some recent forays it may have been difficult to fill the show, not so with the Letter H. In fact there are so many important piano players in this file we can’t fit them all into The Hot Box episode 21!
In Hot Box Episode 20 we pay homage to two jazz festivals that present contrasting pleasures to jazz fans over the October public holiday weekend in Ireland. The one celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017 and is recognised worldwide as one of the major jazz-focussed events in the calendar, the other remains something of a secret, but gaining in its reach and appeal each year.
In the 19th edition of The Hot Box we revisit the A – Z of Jazz Piano series focusing on the letter G.You will hear from such greats as Benny Green, Erroll Garner, Robert Glasper, Larry Goldings and many more.
Also in The Hot Box #19 we introduce “The Hot Spot” where we feature some new releases hitting the music scene. We have a track from David Rooney’s debut album “Bound Together” and we will also feature Edel Meade who launches her debut album “Blue Fantasia” on 28th of September just a few days from now in the Bello Bar Dublin.
This Hot Box is a special Xtra in memory of John Abercrombie who passed away on August 22, 2017 at the age of 72. In The Hot Box 18 we celebrated “guitar” and though it would be fitting to include an extra special show for Abercrombie.
John Abercrombie was an American jazz guitarist, composer and bandleader. His work explored jazz fusion, post bop, free jazz and avant-garde jazz. Abercrombie studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He recorded his debut album, Timeless with Manfred Eicher's ECM label, and recorded principally with this label since then.
In this edition of The Hot Box, Donald Helme rejoices in the rebirth of Dublin Guitar Night (last Tuesday of every month) in its new venue, The Grand Social, and presents a wide ranging soundscape of guitar from Frank Vignola to Laurindo Almeida, from Eric Bibb to Phil Upchurch, and of course, a couple of local heroes too, Hugh Buckley and Nigel Mooney.
The guitar is far and away the most popular instrument in blues, rock and jazz, and that is reflected in the audiences it always attracts. Enjoy nearly an hour and a half of guitar in The Hot Box #18.