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.
Taking a leaf out of the book of jazz station WBGO Newark New Jersey, this edition of The Hot Box presents “Singers Unlimited”.
So if vocal jazz sets your pulse racing, this one’s for you. And there’s a little nod in the direction Christmas as well. Every one of these great singers has appeared in Ireland over the years. (And of course, some of them are Irish!)
In The Hot Box number 76 we delve into the Guitar Files labelled “G”.
The towering figure of Grant Green seems to dominate this file, maybe the most productive guitarist of the 1960’s, who sounded then, and still sounds, like nobody else. Then we have the young bloods, Alex Goodman from Canada and Riccardo Grilli from Brazil, both fully paid members of the New York jazz scene today. So the 76th Hot Box is rich in contrasting styles.
The main event in The Hot Box 074 is a move to the Guitar Files Letter F. So we feature 3 greats from that file, Tal Farlow, Bill Frisell and Chris Flory. But there’s other stuff too. An exciting taster from Aoife Doyle’s upcoming new album, the single Strength to be Strong, and a track from Kevin Brady’s Electric Quartet upcoming world release “Plan B”.
Plus we find an amazing young guitarist from the D file who has just come to our attention, Graham Dechter, from his new album “Major Influence”.
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.