Ronan Guilfoyle 60th Birthday Concerts

Ronan Guilfoyle

Ronan Guilfoyle 60th Birthday Concerts

Renaissance man of Irish jazz to perform four sets over two nights at Arthur’s in Dublin.

Ronan Guilfoyle – jazz bassist, composer, educator, band leader, writer – will celebrate his 60th birthday with four major sets over two evenings – tonight and tomorrow night (9 and 10 May) at Arthur’s in Dublin.

Guilfoyle and the Improvised Music Company are bringing together an amazing range of musicians to perform music he has arranged or written in recent years.

Commenting on the two nights celebrating his work to date, he said:

If, like me, you have been playing professionally for nearly 40 years, it’s good from time time, to take stock and celebrate the journey so far. I have asked some of my best friends and colleagues in music to join me in a celebration, both of my 60th birthday, and in music itself – especially jazz music…  In choosing the music for this celebration I wanted to include players and projects with whom I have a long track record and I am delighted to have such a stellar cast with me over the two nights.

Jack Bruce and Divisions
Tonight at 8pm, he will joined by singer Margot Daly, Lars Moeller (sax), Joe O’Callaghan (guitar), Izumi Kimura (piano) and Brendan Doherty (drums) to perform a tribute to Cream bassist and singer Jack Bruce, who Guilfoyle described as ‘probably the reason why I play the bass.’ After Bruce died in 2014, Guilfoyle embarked on a project based on his music. ‘Things We Like – The Music of Jack Bruce’ is a personal response to his songbook.

At 10pm, Guilfoyle will join leading Danish musicians Lars Moeller (sax) and Jonas Johansen (drums) for a performance of the spectacular Divisions ‘a test of their rhythmic mettle’ – which the trio recorded in 2013. They will be joined by Guilfoyle’s son, Chris, on guitar.

Halferty and Monk
Tomorrow evening (10 May) at 8.30pm, the bassist will be joined by legendary Irish guitarist Tommy Halferty for ‘Flyin’ Hi - The Music of Tommy Halferty’, the 2016 piece Guilfoyle arranged to celebrate the guitarist’s 70th birthday. A 6-piece band will also include Matthew Berrill (clarinet/alto sax), Sam Comerford (tenor sax), Paul Dunlea (trombone) and Phil Ware (piano).

Finally, tomorrow at 10pm, Guilfoyle, Berrill, Comerford and Dunlea, with Chris Guilfoyle on guitar, Sean Carpio on drums and Greg Felton on piano, will perform ‘Always Know – For Thelonious Monk’. Premiered at the Galway Jazz Festival last October, the ‘absolutely riveting’ eight-part suite is inspired by the advice that Monk gave his band and received a standing ovation in Galway. Read our review here.

Guilfoyle’s contribution to jazz in Ireland over four decades and across several fields is unmatched. He began his career with Louis Stewart’s group in the 1980s (read his article ‘Louis the First’ here) and studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada in 1986 and 1987 where his teachers included John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Steve Coleman. Since then he has performed with Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Kenny Wheeler, Keith Copeland, Brad Mehldau, John Abercrombie and many more. He has also been leading his own groups since the 80s and has toured extensively in Europe, Asia and North America.

Guilfoyle set up a jazz programme – the first in Ireland – at Newpark Music Centre and most recently established the Jazz and Contemporary Music Performance degree at Dublin City University. As well as his compositions for jazz ensemble, he has written concertos for orchestra, works for string quartet as well as a range of other classical forces, and for Irish traditional musicians. His most recent recordings include Hands with Dave Binney, Chris Guilfoyle and Tom Rainey, Renaissance Man (a tribute to his father), Live in Dublin with Jim Black and Julian Arguelles, and Exit with Lingua Franca.

Guilfoyle is a regular writer on jazz and has written major articles for The Journal of Music and on his blog at He is the author of Creative Rhythmic Concepts for Jazz Improvisation.

Tickets for each night is €20 and includes the two sets. The concerts take place at Arthur’s at 28 Thomas St, Dublin 8. For full details and booking, visit

Published on 9 May 2018

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