Dr 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 and quintet for several years, Louis began recording asleader in the mid-’70s, 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”).
On the occasion of his very welcome return to Limerick Louis is supported by Len McCarthy on saxophone, Peter Hanagan on bass and John Daly on drums.
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-Pedersen, 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 ten albums resulted: with singers Joe Williams and Eileen Farrell, with Shearing and with trombone legend J.J. Johnson, on all of which he is a prominently featured soloist.
In 1994, as a member of the Shearing trio, Louis featured for a week opposite Tommy Flanagan’s trio in The Blue Note, New York. This led to an association – still active – with Peter Washington and Lewis Nash which has included a week-long engagement, 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).
Continuing to make Dublin his home, Louis performs regularly in Germany andNorway, where, in the national theatre, Oslo, his James Joyce/Ulysses inspired concert piece “JoyceNotes” has been produced to acclaim.
Pat Martino: “It’s a pleasure to even be reminded of Louis Stewart. I met Louis the first time I performed in Ireland. He’s not only a formidable artist, but also one of the warmest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, with no exception. As a true jazz-guitarist he’s played an important role in the instruments evolution, especially in Europe. And as far as his playing being under-appreciated, it’s only due to his performance not being as available as some of us would like it to be here in the ‘States.” If by any chance Louis comes across this conversation let me add this: “Louis, I send you all my love, and really look forward to seeing you again, hopefully sometime soon!. Until then, ….. CHEERS!”