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Louis Stewart

Louis Stewart, the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin, began his international career in 1968 when he was awarded the special jury prize at the Montreaux International Jazz Festival. Shortly thereafter he began working with Benny Goodman, an association that lasted three years, and gave way to an extended and prominent period with the late, great, English saxophonist/flautist Tubby Hayes.
 
As a member of Ronnie Scott’s quartet iand quintet for several years, Louis began recording as leader in the mid 1970’s, making albums with Sam Jones and Billy Higgins, with Peter Ind, and later, with Red Mitchell, saxophonist Spike Robinson, pianist Bill Charlap, and now more recently again, a new CD, recorded in Venice with alto great Peter King ("Angel Eyes").
 
In the 70s Louis began his lengthy association with George Shearing (with whom he has toured America, Brazil and all of Europe; and recorded eight albums - several in trio with Danish bass master Niels-Henning Orsted-Pederson, and in quintet with vibist Steve Nelson and drummer Dennis Mackrel). He began working with Canadian genius-orchestrator and arranger, Robert Farnon in 1976, and at least 10 albums resulted: with singers Joe Williams and Eileen Farrell, with Shearing and with trombone legend J.J Johnson, on all of which he is prominently featured soloist.
 
1994 as a member of the Shearing trio, he featured for a week opposite Tommy Flanagan’s trio in The Blue Note in New York. This led to an association - still active- with Peter Washington and Lewis Nash which has included a week-long enagement, as leader, at the legendary Village Vanguard NYC (with the masterful Richard Wyands in the piano chair, and, for that particular week, Kenny Washington, drums, substituting for Lewis Nash).
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Trinty College Dublin in 1998.
 
Continuing to make Dublin his home, Louis performs regularly in Germany and Norway where, in the national theatre Oslo, his James Joyce/Ulysses inspired concert piece "JoyceNotes" has been produced to acclaim.
 
Aosdána mourns the passing of Louis Stewart (August 2016)
 
Aosdána notes with great regret the death of Louis Stewart. The first jazz musician to be elected to Aosdána, Louis was a person of historic importance to Irish music. As someone who played at the top level of jazz, including with Benny Goodman and many years with George Shearing, he might have been expected to live in the United States or London, Paris, or in any number of major cities in Europe with a strong jazz tradition. The fact that Louis chose to base himself in Ireland and to develop his art by playing with and encouraging Irish musicians was not the least of his many contributions to our culture. It was an honour to Aosdána to have him as a member of our organisation.

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