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.
The 63rd edition of Hot Box reminds us of the importance of Charlie Parker as we celebrate his 100th anniversary, we mark the death of one of the greatest of bass players Gary Peacock, we offer a shout-out for Sonny Rollins whose 90th birthday has just passed, and we revel in a massive re-release of long unavailable albums by the self-taught genius of the piano, Errol Garner. In between all of that some exciting new material, including an album featuring Irish guitarist David O’Rourke.
The 62nd edition of The Hot Box opens up the guitar files for an alphabetical series that will cover a wide range of eras and styles in the very wide world of the guitar in jazz. By some margin the guitar is the most popular of all musical instruments, and its presence in jazz is no less widespread, blossoming when someone had the bright idea of amplifying its sound. Right now, there are over 30 pro or semi-pro guitarists in Ireland who play jazz, although finding their recorded output may be problematic.
So, we start with The A File - John Abercrombie, Howard Alden and Laurindo Almeida for starters.
It seems that this is a time for memories of the great jazz musicians of yesterday who have “left the building” during the current pandemic (but not necessarily as a direct result of it), and in The Hot Box #061 we celebrate the music of saxophonist Jimmy Heath, singer/pianist Freddy Cole and singer Annie Ross. And we find some new music from Brazilian, New York based guitarist Riccardo Grilli.
The final episode of The Piano Files A-Z. The Z File
Not too may surnames start with the letter Z but here we find 4 amazing piano players that give us a wide spectrum of style and content……the majority of tracks included here were recorded live, in front of an audience. Remember those days?
Joe Zawinul, the former Miles Davis collaborator and founding member of Weather Report.
Denny Zeitlin, professor of Clinical Psychiatry with over 30 jazz albums to his name.
Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, classical student fusing jazz with Azerbajani Mugam.
Peter Zak, prolific proponent of the Eternal Triangle - his phrase for the jazz piano trio.
In this episode of the Hot Box we celebrate the life of Jimmy Cobb who died last month aged 91, and legendary pianist McCoy Tyner who recently passed away. We also sample three new albums (*), two of which have diverse Irish interest!
Welcome to The Hot Box #058 in which we delve further into the alphabetical piano files with Part 2 of the File for W. There are some amazing artists in the episode.
Be sure to listen out for an interview where Marian McPartland hosts the great Mary Lou Williams on her long running radio show “Piano Jazz” on NPR in October of 1978. It is quite wonderful to hear Mary Lou Williams chat about music and list of all the names of bands and musicians she has worked with when she started out as a teenager right the way through to the modern era.