Louis Stewart (guitarist)
Life and career
Born in Waterford, Stewart began his professional career performing in Dublin showbands. In 1968 he performed at the Montreux International Jazz Festival with Irish pianist Jim Doherty and received the 'Outstanding European Soloist' award. Stewart was subsequently offered a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music, which he turned down. He joined Benny Goodman's band in 1970.
Stewart began recording as a leader in 1976 with Louis the First. His sidemen included Sam Jones, Billy Higgins, Peter Ind, Red Mitchell and Spike Robinson. In the late 1970s he began working with George Shearing, touring America, Brazil and major European festivals, and recording eight albums, including several in trio with bassist Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen. Stewart has also appeared on albums by Joe Williams and J.J. Johnson.
In 1981, ahead of his debut in the US as a leader, The New York Times stated: "Mr. Stewart seems to have his musical roots in be-bop. He leans toward material associated with Charlie Parker and he spins out single-note lines that flow with an unhurried grace, colored by sudden bright, lively chorded phrases. His up-tempo virtuosity is balanced by a laid-back approach to ballads, which catches the mood of the piece without sacrificing the rhythmic emphasis that keeps it moving." In a review of Stewart's 1995 album Overdrive, AllMusic stated that "Louis Stewart is one of the all-time greats, and it is obvious from the first notes he plays on any occasion".
Stewart resided in Dublin. He received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin in 1998. In 2009, he was elected to Aosdána, an Irish affiliation of artists engaged in literature, music and visual arts, established by the Irish Arts Council in 1981 to honour those whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the creative arts in Ireland.
Discography as leader
- Louis the First (1975)
- Baubles, Bangles and Beads (1976)
- Milesian Source (1977)
- Out on His Own (1977)
- Drums and Friends (1978)
- I Thought About You (1979)
- Alone Together (1979)
- Acoustic Guitar Duets (with Martin Taylor; 1985)
- Good News (1988)
- Winter Song (1990)
- String Time (1990)
- Louis Stewart featuring Michael Moore (1992)
- In A Mellow Tone (1992)
- Joycenotes (1993)
- Overdrive (1995)
- I Wished on the Moon (1999)
- Street of Dreams (2002)
- Core Business (2004)
- Paradoxal Intervention (2005)
- Tunes (with Jim Doherty; 2013)
- Irish jazz musician Louis Stewart dies aged 72
- "Louis Stewart Biography". All About Jazz. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- "Jazz: Louis Stewart From Dublin". New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Overdrive: Live at the Tron". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Louis Stewart Biography". All Music. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Feather/Gitler, Encyclopedia of Jazz, Oxford University Press