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.
Welcome to The Hot Box #056 where we delve into the Piano in the key of W. We are getting to the end of the piano files and who knows what comes next. The W file is a very big file with so many great players that we might run into two episodes, which it gives us an opportunity to hear some slightly longer pieces that we would have had to cut out for the sake of time.
A nice big band welcome to the 55th edition of the Hot Box. The big success of Zandra Queen of Jazz from Darn Skippy Productions at the Smock Alley Theatre Dublin put me in mind to make an edition of the hot box centred on women in jazz. A fascinating glimpse into another world and caused me to reflect on the status of women in the jazz world over time.
So far as I am aware there are no recorded pieces from Zandra Mitchell but we can enjoy and talk about many other women in jazz. I had planned the Hot Box 55 to be a big band show, so why not combine the two.
Welcome to The Hot Box #054 where we get ever closer to the end of the long-running series The Piano Files! In this episode we explore pianists under the letters U… and V as well as a few omissions from the letter T. It turns out that the popularity of the letter V as the first letter in Cuban surnames becomes extremely focussed when it comes to piano players. All the Vs are Cuban. As for U, only one player was found with that initial letter!
Over an hour of newly released jazz in The Hot Box 053, you’ll find tracks from Corkonian John Donegan to veteran British multi-instrumentalist Alan Barnes, from Chick Corea to new singing sensation Veronica Swift.
The Hot Box #052 continues down the alphabet of pianists, and this time investigates the musicians filed under the letter T. A file that contains at least 3 of the all-time legends of jazz, not to mention 4 piano players with the same surname!
“Festivalisation” of jazz was a gradual process but one that seemed, a few years ago, to be terminal. Luckily, good sense has prevailed and jazz festivals have taken their rightful place in the overall scheme of things. Now Ireland boasts at least 7 such events, most of which are autumnal, including the great-grandmother of them all, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Started in 1978 and still prospering. In the Hot Box we check out some of the artists and bands appearing in Cork 2019, including headliners Kurt Elling, Linley Hamilton and Fred Hersch. And some less well-known - Airelle Besson, Sue Rynhart and Les Fans Flures.