the hot box iconThe Hot Box

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 Hot Box #048 - A to Z of Jazz Piano Part 18 - George Shearing

A Special Edition celebrating the centennial of pianist George Shearing 1919 - 2011

The Pianist George Shearing was born in Battersea, London in August 1919, blind from birth. He emigrated to the USA in 1947, soon establishing the so-called “Shearing Sound” with his quintet. The band scored popular hits in the late 40’s and early 50’s, unwittingly inventing a sound formula that would endear itself to commercial arrangers across the world. Of particular interest for Irish listeners is the fact that Shearing’s preferred guitarist for much of the late 20th century was Louis Stewart. Shearing was knighted for his services to music. “Not bad for a blind boy from Battersea”.

The Hot Box #047 - All Female Vocal

The Hot Box number 47 in which we have wall-to-wall female vocalists………………….

This is the first time Hot Box has gone all-female-vocal, but a really exciting programme results, with several current singers featured both from Ireland and beyond. It seems that there is an explosion of female vocalising today, and it recalls the days when all the big bands had to front with at least one female vocalist - a “canary” as they were pejoratively nicknamed. Most of them fell into obscurity. Nowadays the singer is more likely to have to make a solo career from scratch.Its still a struggle but a different kind of struggle.

The Hot Box #046 - Big Sounds - Jazz Podcast with Donald Helme

There are few sounds in jazz more appealing than that of a big fat unit comprising around 17 musicians, well drilled, swinging, and with star solo improvisations on top. The 46th Hot Box celebrates some of those sounds with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar, including The New Irish Jazz Orchestra, whose formerly unpublished pieces from live concert performance are featured here. Also sit back and enjoy two wonderful tracks from Fred Hersch’s brand new album - a significant departure for him - with the WDR Big Band under the direction of the multi-award winning arranger Vince Mendoza.

The Hot Box #045 – A to Z of Jazz Piano Part 17 – The Letter R

Another hour of superb jazz piano from Donald Helme in The Hot Box #045 A to Z of Jazz Piano Part 17 – The Letter R. In this episode you can hear from artists such as Ted Rosenthal, Gene Rodgers, Eric Reed, Renee Rosnes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Michele Rosewoman and many more. There is some really amazing music in this one.

The Hot Box #044 – New Releases May 2019

There are so many new and exciting releases that have come up recently that we have decided to postpone the piano files for a spell otherwise this incredible list of tracks in Hot Box 44 wouldn’t be new releases anymore.

You can hear tracks from artists such as Polly Gibbons, Herlin Riley, Randy Brecker, Cyrille Aimée, Carol Sudhalter, John Donegan, Tommy Halferty & Norma Winstone plus more.

The Hot Box #043 - Kinda Blue

The Hot Box 43 aims to set the scene for a major presentation of the pieces from Miles Davis’ extraordinary recording “Kind of Blue” in an orchestral setting at The National Concert Hall at the end of May. This concert will feature the RTE Concert Orchestra, as well as featured soloists all under the direction of Guy Barker one of the leading trumpet players in the world. Whet your appetite over the next hour in the run up to this much anticipated concert.

The Hot Box #042 – A to Z of Jazz Piano Part 16 – The Letter P

The Hot Box 42 is overflowing with amazing music. This time around in the A – Z of Jazz Piano we cover the letter P which is one of those files full of historical importance. You can hear from artists such as Bud Powel, one of the founders of modern jazz as well as Oscar Peterson who was a huge presence in jazz for 50 years or so. Then you can hear from the remarkable Michelle Petruciianni and some exciting contemporary players like Aaron Parks and Tommaso Perazzo.