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Chiltern Hundreds Area

Ireland's Analogy

Emeralds are fascinating gemstones. They have the most beautiful, most intense and most radiant green that can possibly be imagined: emerald green. The name emerald comes from the Greek 'smaragdos' via the Old French 'esmeralde', and really just means 'green gemstone'. Innumerable fantastic stories have grown up around this magnificent gem. The Incas and Aztecs of South America, where the best emeralds are still found today, regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone. However, probably the oldest known finds were once made near the Red Sea in Egypt. Having said that, these gemstone mines, already exploited by Egyptian pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C. and later referred to as 'Cleopatra's Mines', had already been exhausted by the time they were rediscovered in the early 19th century.
The green of life and of love
The green of the emerald is the colour of life and of the springtime, which comes round again and again. But it has also, for centuries, been the colour of beauty and of constant love.
The magnificent green of the emerald is a colour which conveys harmony, love of Nature and elemental joie de vivre. The human eye can never see enough of this unique colour. Pliny commented that green gladdened the eye without tiring it. Green is perceived as fresh and vivid, never as monotonous. And in view of the fact that this colour always changes somewhat between the bright light of day and the artificial light of a lamp, emerald green retains its lively vigour in all its nuances.

Emerald Jazz - the above superlatives in respect to this special gemstone reflects the wealth of Jazz Talent languishing in this greenest of islands and we introduce some of the home grown Jazz Gems playing extensively in Ireland.  Many are unsung by their own Community and yet have a greater reputation abroad - but then no man is a Prophet in his own land.

Tom O'Hare  was born in Cork City Ireland.  The great Vibes player Milt Jackson who performed with the Modern Jazz Quartet was his first major influence. Tom (who studied and qualified in Classical piano) developed a great interest in the Classical Piano Repertoire and especially in the music of Frederic Chopin. He is also a great admirer of the Bach Preludes and Fugues, the keyboard sonatas of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven and the romantic piano compositions of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Brahms.
Although he plays the Vibraphone his main influence has been the wonderful Jazz pianist Wynton Kelly of Miles Davis Quintet fame. While playing at Cork Jazz Festival '99 he was informed that Milt Jackson had passed away.  He at once resolved to commemorate the great musician with "This one's for Bags".

Tom O'Hare has been a devotee of the Modern Jazz Quartet ever since the age of six, when he first heard Odds Against Tomorrow, No Sun In Venice and the European Concert. He originally trained as a classical pianist and he still teaches the instrument at Kinsale Community School. And while he later switched to vibes, piano jazz has remained an abiding passion for him: Wynton Kelly being his favourite practitioner. As a vibes player O'Hare's debt to Jackson is obvious, but his sound and touch are strongly personal; moreover, he has a feel for a melodic line while cooking fiercely. 

Hugh Buckley
Dublin based guitarist Hugh Buckley began playing guitar at the relatively late age of seventeen. His initial interests lay in rock, soul and rhythm and blues but a family interest in jazz led him in this direction.(his cousins Richie and Michael are both world class saxophonists in their own right). Hugh leads his own group, works as a sideman with many artists, teaches and conducts guitar and improvisation workshops.He has performed in Argentina, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Britain and the United States. 
He has released two cds under his own name ,"Yes Indeed" and "Spirit Level", both recorded in New York and featuring such artists as James Williams, Peter Washington, Darren Beckett, Richie Buckley, John Wadham, Dave Fleming and Fintan O'Neill. His own group is a vehicle for his passionate playing and his numerous and diverse original compositions. A sensitive and versatile approach to harmony and melody has enabled him the opportunity to play as a sideman and accompanist to many internationally renowned artists. Including  James Williams, Jon Faddis , Peter Washington, Peter Bernstein, Bobby Watson , Scott Hamilton, Javon Jackson, Brad Mehldau, Guy Barker, Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, Roy Williams ,Georgie Fame, Bobby Wellins, Mike Carr, Spike Robinson, Louis Stewart, Joe Temperley, Brian Kelloch, Peter Appleyard, George Masso, Harry Allen, Van Morrison, Stacey Kent and Lisa Stansfield.

Louis Stewart began his musical career in the sixties as a member of the Dublin jazz scene. In 1968 he received an invitation to the Montreux Jazz Festival together with the Jim Doherty Quartet. He came away with the press award for "Outstanding European Soloist of the Festival". The following year - again in Montreux - he won the "Grand Prix de la Radio Suisse Romande". He turned down a scholarship from the Berklee School of Music, Boston, because at the time he was with Tubby Hayes' Quartet and Big Band and had been engaged by Benny Goodman for three European tours.  In the 70s Louis Stewart was a member of the "Ronnie Scott Quartet" in London. During this period he also cut albums with Sam Jones and Billy Higgins as well as other musicians from the London scene. His excellent guitar playing with Scott’s quartet, on his solo and duo albums in the 1970 and 1980s, and on recordings with George Shearing, Clark Terry, Martin Taylor, Heiner Franz and others in recent years has earned him a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s foremost jazz guitarists.  In July 1998 Louis Stewart was conferred with a doctorate in music from Trinity College Dublin.

Photos by Barry Blight©

Anthony Kerr was born in Belfast and is regarded by many as the most enchanting, original and exciting Vibraphone Player in the jazz idiom of today. He also works with the BBC Big Band as a session musician and has been commissioned to write for Television and Radio.
Taught percussion at Belfast School of Music & Harrow School. Tutor with percussion section of Irish Youth Orchestra.  Jazz improvisation teaching at Queens University, Belfast, Southampton University, Morley College, Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Royal Academy of Music in London.  He also teaches privately.. Having spent two years studying and performing in New York in the 1980s, he then moved to London to perform and record with many great musicians including George Shearing, Elvis Costello, Georgie Fame, Claire Martin, Louis Stewart, Norma Winstone, Peter King and Joe Lovano.  He has either been voted, or been nominated ‘best instrumentalist’ in the British Jazz Awards every year since 1994.
Anthony was the original endorser for the Xylosynth and his wise advice to the manufacturer has proved invaluable - his be-boptastic playing is an inspiration.  Voted Young Jazz Musician of the Year in 1995 Anthony studied with David Friedman and has made a couple of well received albums.   Apart from session work Anthony's credits include the Anthony Kerr Mallet Band, and the BBC Big Band
Listen to extracts of Anthony Kerr playing some of his compositions for Vibraphone, Marimba and Xylosynth.
Sweet Summer
- Gentle Vibes with piano
Who sees the Dawn - Xylosynth, Marimba and Vibes
A Stitch in Time - Live @ Ronnie Scotts - Vibes, piano Bass & Drums

Sounds of Anthony Kerr

Now one of the elder statesmen of British jazz, Cork's John Donegan is sure to deliver a highly polished performance, one full of technical fluency and lyrical excellence - always a notable hallmark of his much-in-demand style. John carried out his Classical training at the Municipal School of Music in Cork. His father was a strong influence in introduced him to Blues and American Folk Music in his teens. From there John developed an interest in Trad Jazz and then progressed to Modern Jazz. He also played in the Orchestra pit in the Opera House in Cork for variety shows which gave him a great insight in to all types of music.

In his late teens and early twenties he discovered the likes of Errol Garner, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson and the wonderful music of the MJQ.  His first goup based on them and he became very involved in the local Jazz society in the early seventies from which grew the Cork International Jazz Festival in which he has been fortunate to be involved, every year since it began - bar one!
He moved to Dublin in 1977 and formed a group with Ray Preston, Dave Fleming (bass)  Dick Buckley ( father of Richie and Michael - who are both exceptional musicians in their own right) and John Murray (drums).  John also struck up a strong friendship with Louis Stewart with whom he played regularly and who developed and introduced me to many new exponents of the art and helped to broaden my horizons in Jazz. He had a number of Radio broadcasts and TV appearances during this period and also had the opportunity to play with visiting musicians like Barney Kessel. It was at this time that he discovered his greatest influence - Bill Evans. Other influences have been the likes of Lennie Tristano, Wynton Kelly, Hampton Hawes, Chic Corea, and the incomparable Keith Jarrett and Kenny Barron. Non piano influences were Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Coltrane, Chet Baker, Michael Brecker and his favourite sax player - Dexter Gordon. 
In 1979 he was on the move again - to London and quickly became involved in regular residencies like Langans Brasserie and other restaurants and clubs including Pizza Express. In 1989, another job move, this time to Bristol and again fund a lively Jazz scene there. John had a regular partnership with Frank Evans, who sadly died in 2007. However he had a number of broadcasts with BBC and his trio at the time was with Adam Gittins (now in Australia) and Simon Gore which lasted for 8 years.  They were fortunate to play with many visiting American musicians including Art Farmer and Bobby Shew.  In 1997 he recorded his first album which received good airtime both on Jazz FM and on the BBC and indeed on RTE and some local radio stations in Ireland.  
In 1997 he was transferred back to London and hase played with the likes of Vic Ash, Bruce Adams, the late Campbell Burnap, Leon Clayton, Laurence Cottle, and Ken Foley - fellow Corkman and wonderful guitarist now living in the US and with whom he played with at Birdland, Ray Gelato, Dave Priseman, Andy Clyndert  and Alex Garnet. More regular groups included Steve Fishwick and his brother Matt Fishwick, Steve Waterman and Clarke Tracey.  The current trio is with my long term friend and exceptional bass player - Geoff Clyne another Corkman now living in High Wycombe and Greg McCarthy on drums.

Sparkling and surprising piano jazz from this rising Cork star. Already winner of the prestigious 'Young Musician of the Year' award from Boston's Berklee School of Music, Cian is highly rated in the USA .

A Harmonica Player - of very high renown but so little to read about till I found this
Ray Preston -  whom one could call a really accomplished jazz chromatic player.  Ray Preston Making Whoopee
Brendan Power on Ray Preston.
They call Ireland the Emerald obviously being the Isle. That's because it's a green yardstick. It's a green and very pleasant land - but it small number, could equally well refer to the reflecting the wealth of musical gems to be found there if you listen with an ear to the ground. One of the rarest and finest I've discovered is jazz harmonica master Ray Preston. It was Mick Kinsella who introduced me to Ray, roughly 10 years ago when I was touring. I got him and Mick up for a jam on a simple blues, and was immediately struck by the sheer sophistication and intelligence of Ray's playing. He made that three chord 12 bar sound very exotic, and I didn't have a clue what he was doing!  Since then we have kept in touch, and Ray has kindly given me several recordings of his playing, taken from sessions or live gigs.  As my interest and appreciation of jazz has grown, so has my admiration for Ray Preston's playing. I often listen to those records whilst in my workshop, and have started to think it's really a pity a lot more people don't know about this man.
Judging by the extant recordings, I'd guess there are probably fewer than twenty people in the world difficulty of this undertaking. Dubliner Ray Preston is undoubtedly one of the finest of the best. Yet he's virtually unheard of outside the Irish jazz scene. I called him up for the NHL magazine, and asked him about his career. Ray said he started playing harmonica as a kid, diatonic at first and then chromatic. He was interested in popular jazz, Glenn Miller, Swing, Dixieland etc. However, at the age of 14 he heard a version of Tenderly by Oscar Peterson, and later the same tune by bebop trumpeter Clifford Brown. He was blown away with the man's playing, and started to work on getting a similar sound and approach on the chromatic harmonica. He had found his guru and his musical direction.
However, he says that back in the 60s and 70s Ireland was a very puritanical place, and jazz was disapproved of as a subversive influence by the powers that be. The few jazz musicians like Ray felt quite persecuted and had to conduct an undercover crusade to get the music heard and accepted.
In recent times things have opened up a lot. Now 64, Ray has done all there is do in the Irish jazz scene, regularly appearing on national television and often featuring at the Cork jazz festival. He has guested with many visiting musicians like Spike Robinson and Bobby Watson (USA), Digby Fairweather, Bobby Wellins, Michael Garrick, Alan Barnes, Brian Dee and Dave Green (UK).
I feel an affinity for Ray because, like me, he is a self-taught ear player who doesn't read music. Also like myself, he plays several chromatics in different keys, an approach frowned on by many classical and jazz harmonicists. However, for Ray it's the music that comes out of his "horn" (as he calls it, in jazz parlance) that matters, and for him using different harps is the best way to achieve the sound he's after.
He uses mostly Hohner 270s, but latterly has developed a liking for the CX12 as well. He uses standard chroms in Solo tuning, and tends to play in the home key of the instrument: in C on a C chrom, Bb on a Bb chrom etc etc. This gives him a very fluid and relaxed style, less quirkily harmonica-istic than Toot's and closer to the phrasing of the trumpet and sax players he listens to. Like Toots, Ray eschews overdone hand effects, preferring a Ray meets Toots approach with a very pure and unaffected sound with a light throat vibrato.
One thing that you especially notice about Ray's playing is his relaxed sense of time. Unlike like the late Larry Adler and other chromatic virtuosos who dabble in jazz but never really swing, Ray Preston is the real deal. You just have to listen to a few notes to hear that his playing is absolutely, authentically jazz. The importance of having good time in jazz is something he was keen to stress.  It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing could have been written for Ray.
Another reason Ray's playing inspires me is because he plays highly sophisticated jazz lines without having a clue about formal music theory and harmony!  He hears it all instinctively after many years of listening, and it certainly works for him. It gives me hope! - and shows, once again, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Finally I asked Ray when he is going to get that wonderful playing down on a CD so the wider world can appreciate his playing. He says he does have plans, but is working on getting the finance and the right setting. Let's hope it doesn't take too long. We have some of his music on the magazine web page. April 2005

Frank Kilkelly - guitarist  Frank is from Castlebar on Ireland's west coast, and grew up playing jigs and reels. However, he also developed an interest and great skill in the Hot Club style of jazz guitar,.

Kevin Brady – Drums
Dublin based drummer Kevin Brady has been performing professionally for many years with the Hammond organ group Organics and is also a member of the critically acclaimed piano trio led by Phil Ware. He began studying drums at 19 at Newpark Music Centre, later attending the Drummers Collective in New York, where his teachers were Kim Plainfield and Bobby Sanabrias; previous teachers have included Ralph Peterson, , Casey Scheurell, Eliot Zigmund and Keith Copeland. He achieved a diploma in Jazz Performance from the Guildhall School Hall of Music in London and received a Scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA.
In recent years he has performed with International jazz musicians : Ulf Wakenius (Guitar) Ian Shaw (Vocalist/Pianist), Danny Moss (Saxophone), Jesse Davis (Saxophone) Guy Barker ( Trumpet ) Jim Mullen (guitar), Bobby Watson (alto), John Eckart (Trumpet) Tim Ries (Saxophone) Alan Barnes (Sax) Sandro Gibellini (Guitar) Giovanni Mirabassi (Piano) Ron Anthony (Guitar) Tim Whitehead (Sax) and on the home front has worked with Van Morrison jazz guitarist Louis Stewart ,vocalist Honor Heffernan and more recently with singer/songwriter Dave Geraghty (BellX1). In 2004 he performed at the Sydney Opera House, Australia, with the award winning contemporary Irish group, Grada. In addition to his recording and performing work he currently teaches drumkit and ensemble performance on the BA Degree in Jazz studies at Newpark Music Centre.

Dave Redmond – Double Bass
David Redmond has been a member of the Phil Ware trio for 4 years and is much in demand on the Irish jazz scene.Recording and performing with a wide variety of ensembles. He is currently studying Classical Double-Bass at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.. In 1999 he achieved an Associate in Jazz double-bass performance from the London Guildhall school of music. In 2002 he attended the IRMA Composition course with Ronan Guilfoyle. Following this, in 2003 he attended the School for Improvisational Music in New York studying with Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane and other leading jazz musicians. He was also awarded an €6000 scholarship to attend the Berklee school of music in Boston, US. Over the past 4 years David has performed at the International Piano Trio Series 2004 (Improvised Music Company) in the National Concert Hall with the Phil Ware trio. Also the following jazz festivals Cork International Jazz Festival 2003-2005, The Derry Jazz Festival 2003-2004 and the Bray Jazz Festival 2003-2005. He has also performed with visiting International musicians including Bob Dorough, Keith Copeland, Jacqui Dankworth, Bruce Adams , Alan Barnes, John Eckert, Jim Mullen, Chris Mc’Nulty and Guy Barker.

 Blue Jar -  Belfast

Improved Profiles Required - Can you help or contribute?

Gay McIntyre who is widely respected as one of Ireland’s finest Jazz clarinettists and sax players but where is his biography
Gay McIntyre is well known on the regional jazz scene as a consummate saxophonist/clarinettist and as an influential teacher. He has worked with most of the top players in the world including Nat King Cole, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball. 

George Hassoon - fine robust trumpet player obviously well known in his native land - where is his profile.

Paul McIntyre who performs often at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus as part of the popular Lunchtime Jazz Concert Series. 

Paul, who is currently undertaking a PhD in Jazz Performance at Ulster, has already firmly established himself as a well known performer on the jazz circuit, having featured at numerous jazz festivals both nationally and internationally.  

His trio has featured on live BBC radio programmes on many occasions, and he has accompanied and played alongside  world-renowned jazz singers and instrumentalists such as Jacqui Dankworth, Norma Winstone, Gay McIntyre, Louis Stewart and Michael Neilsen.


The Belfast Jazz Orchestra

Now under the musical direction of  Marty Wilson is riding high!  Full membership means strong sections and especially in the saxes
You will find them providing music for dancing and listening at the  C.I.Y.M.S. Circular Rd, Belfast on the first Monday of every month and very popular it is too.
It promises to be a good year for the BJO which is really swinging under the direction of Marty Wilson. Marty is a top-class orchestral and band musician. Come and listen or dance the night away!!

Jazz Festivals
Cork Jazz Festival - Ireland
 October 08
City of Derry Jazz Festival

City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival

The Doonbeg International Jazz Festival - Ireland
Doonbeg, Co Clare, Ireland 1st - 4th June 2007

7-8 June 08
Holywood International Jazz Festival (N Ireland)
Saturday 7th/Sunday 8th June 2008
Featuring : Swedish Jazz Kings with Roy Williams
                 Red Hot Rhythmakers (Australia)
                 Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band (U.K)
                 Bruce Adams Quartet (U.K)


City of Derry Guitar Festival

Limerick Guitar Festival - August 07


The Ticket in The Irish Times: A leading source of jazz, classical, electronica, world music listings and reviews every Friday

The Irish Times: Jazz Listings are to be found in The Weekend Supplement every Saturday

The Evening Herald: Mathew Nugent previews the week ahead every Wednesday

The Sunday Tribune: Cormac Larkin previews concerts and reviews records weekly

The Event Guide: The Dublin event listing free sheet

The Sunday Times: Listings in the Culture Section

Jazz Radio

RTÉ lyric fm (96 - 99 fm)

Jazz Alley with Donald Helme - Every Saturday, 7.00pm - 8.00pm
Jazz Alley presented by Eamonn Lenihan - Every Sunday, 7.00pm - 8.00pm
*The Blue of the Night presented by Paul Herriott - Every Sunday to Thursday, 10.30pm - 01.00am
The Third Wave presented by Eamonn Lenihan - Every Friday, 10.30pm - 01.00am

RTÉ Radio One (FM: 88.2 - 90.0; 95.2 MW: 567, 729)

Jazz Clubs

Jazz @ Triskel - Cork

Riverside Jazz - Dublin

Galway Jazz Club

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Last modified: 18/02/2012