Dennis Irwin, the stalwart bassist of The Vanguard Orchestra and hundreds of recordings, has cancer and no medical insurance. Irwin is fifty-six years old. Friends and admirers are organizing a series of benefits for him, beginning next Sunday following the Super Bowl. It will begin at 10 pm at the Lower Manhattan jazz club called Smalls, 10th Street and Seventh Avenue, just down the street from the Village Vanguard. Musicians are encouraged to sit in. For information, go to this page at the Smalls web site and scroll down to February 3.
There will be an Irwin benefit with the Vanguard Orchestra on Monday, February 18 at the Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South.
Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano is organizing still another benefit for Irwin at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room on Monday, March 10. Details are being formulated. Lovano reports that big names will be involved.
Organizers of the Smalls benefit say that those who cannot attend but would like to help Irwin may send checks made out to Sixteen As One Music, with the notation “Dennis Irwin” on the memo line, to:
Sixteen As One Music, Inc
888-C Eighth Ave. #160
New York, NY 10019
Irwin played with Red Garland in Dallas while he was still a student at North Texas State. Since he arrived in New York in 1975, he has anchored the rhythm sections of Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Mose Allison, Chet Baker, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, Johnny Griffin and John Scofield, among other groups. His power of propulsion and impeccable note choices are important in small bands like the one led by drummer Matt Wilson in this recording and large ones like the Vanguard Orchestra in this CD.
Jason Miles says
I met Dennis about 30 years ago when I just came back to NYC. A great Musician. My question: Has anyone contacted MusiCares?–an arm of NARAS? They may be able to offer some assistance.They are a great organization.
Paul Tomashefsky says
Dennis is an amazing musician. I’ve seen him play with Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts group at Scullers in Boston, as I am a friend of (Trumpeter) Terell Stafford. It’s definitely a tough break for him especially not having insurance, any small contribution will help. . .God’s blessings, Dennis, and please get well soon___ Arts & Crafts needs your strong anchoring voice.
John Mosca says
DENNIS IRWIN TRIBUTE
On Monday, February 18, 2008 at the Village Vanguard, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will honor its great bassist Dennis Irwin with a night of music featuring guest soloists Joe Lovano and John Scofield whose bands have also run on Irwin power for much of the last 15 years. The motivation for this night is to say thanks to a rare person, of great value to all of us, on and off the bandstand. The reason we’re doing it now is because Dennis is undertaking a medical battle and we’re in it with him.
Show times are 8:00, 10:00, and 12:00. Sets one and two will feature Joe and John with the band playing material from all periods of the band’s great library. Set three will open it up for the band and many of Dennis’ friends to come down and tear it up. The bar will be open as usual but admissions will be tax deductible and may be cash (receipts available) or check (made out to Sixteen as One Music Inc. memo Dennis Irwin) at the door. All admissions going to Dennis. Sets one and two – $75. each. Set three – $50. Those who wish to contribute but can’t attend should send checks made out as above to:
Sixteen as One Music Inc.
888-C 8th Ave. #160
New York, NY 10019
Special thanks to Lorraine and Deborah Gordon and the staff at the Village Vanguard who instantly volunteered the use of the club for this event. This will be a special night.
Greg Bobulinski says
ON DENNIS IRWIN, THE SUPERB JAZZ BASSIST WHO IS PRESENTLY ILL –
Dennis worked his first pro gigs with my band in Dallas, Texas. The gig was a riot. We played for SPANO the Great, a hypnotist, a very powerful and strange hypnotist (but that story is for another day). Dennis and I went to school at NTSU in Denton, Texas. (in the early 1970’s) He was a clarinet player and he came to me and said “let me play this gig on bass”. I said,”Dennis you play clarinet not bass!” He replied, “Let me do it.” So I said, “You got it.” And all I can say is the rest is jazz music history. He goes with the great new Blakey Messengers with David Schnitter, Walter Davis, Valery Ponomorov. Ernie Wilkins told me that the Jazz Messengers when Dennis was in the group was the greatest jazz group on the planet Earth. Ha!
We would all run into each other on the road when I was with Clark Terry’s Band. What a time!
Dennis, Here’s hoping to a complete recovery. God Bless and clear all obstacles. Good Journey.
Good Joss! See you on the other side.