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.