Stewart Plays Bryant

Reaction to the death of Ray Bryant keeps coming in. Dubliner Colm (Red) O’Sullivan writes from Rio de Janeiro, where he is immersing himself in Brazilian music. He alerts us to video of a fellow Irishman, guitarist Louis Stewart, playing a Bryant composition. Stewart has been an important player in the UK for decades. He has occasionally appeared in the US. In The New York Times in 1981, John S. Wilson wrote, after hearing Stewart, “he spins out single-note lines that flow with an unhurried grace, colored by sudden bright, lively chorded phrases.” That has not changed.

Here are Stewart and his frequent partner, pianist Jim Doherty, playing Ray Bryant’s “The Bebop Irishman.” Following the tune, a BBCish announcer gives a bit of Stewart’s bio.

Sorry for the early out. That’s all there was.

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  1. says

    When John Williams and I were with Spike Robinson at the Cork Festival in 1998, Louis Stewart was added to our group for one concert, and we loved the way he played. The following week, at the CTS recording studio in London, we discovered that Louis was in the next studio recording with a big band. He only had his rhythm guitar with him, since there were transportation problems bringing both guitars from Ireland, but we wanted him to play with us anyway. He played on four tracks, to very good effect. He’s a fine player, and a very nice man.

  2. says

    Someone who admired Stewart, and recorded frequently with him, was George Shearing.

    There’s a fine 4-CD package of late-1970s trio sessions with bassist Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen (MPS 06025 1745068), some with a fine Robert Farnon-led orchestra overdubbed.

    Stewart and Shearing got together again in the mid-’90s for various Quintet/Orchestral (Farnon again) and Trio work, issued on Telarc.

    And ‘way back in 1960, Shearing recorded Bryant’s “Bebop Irishman”, so I wonder if Stewart learned it from Shearing? Given George’s sense of humour and music memory, it wouldn’t surprise me if George pulled it out in honour of Stewart…

  3. Don Emanuel says

    I’ve been digging Stewart for years ever since I heard him with the Tubby Hayes Quartet way back when.

    I think I’ve got all of his recordings but it a crying shame that his first album “Louis the First” on the Hawk label has never been issued on CD. It’s a fine album but what’s special is that contains the best jazz version of “All the things you are” that I’ve ever heard. With just bass and drums it really is Louis at his outstanding best.

    Thanks for putting this up, more people should know about Stewart.