Stephen helping bring jazz to the fore

Music Page Stephen Br#D0E86

STRIKING A CHORD… Stephen Brennan

This week, Ryan Smith, caught up with Boho student, Stephen Brennan, who is the new chair of Trinity College Jazz Society in Dublin…

BOHO student Stephen Brennan has been a well-known face in the Fermanagh music scene for a number of years and it comes as no surprise that he has immersed himself in music while studying at Trinity College in Dublin.

He was made chairman of the Trinity College Jazz Society last week, where he is in his third year studying Electronic Engineering.

The former Erne Integrated College student first picked up aged 14 after seeing Black Sabbath guitarist Tommi Iommi perform on TV.

“I started getting into bands around town after playing guitar for about a year and played everything from hard rock to a comedy acoustic music.

“When I was 17 I got a chance to play at the Score concert, a special gig in the Waterfront hall for students of GCSE music who scored highly in their practical performance.

“I started playing blues and jazz and got a job in Cafe Merlot with some of my friends from school where we played every Saturday night.”

When he moved to Dublin to study, he soon got immersed in the gig scene in the city.

“I started a delta blues band called The Basement Blues company and played some small gigs in venues like Sweeney’s (Dame St) and The Mezz (Temple Bar). In second year I played bigger gigs both with the Jazz Society house band and a new band that played more poppy tunes, these gigs were more along the lines of society and class functions.”

Through these gigs, Stephen met musician Noel Fortune who told him that he want to start a 1930s-style swing orchestra – with14 band members.

“It seemed like a crazy proposition at first but it has really taken off! We have played gigs all around Dublin in all kinds of venues, from repurposed warehouses in the roughest parts of town to fancy hotels in Dublin 4 and we will be doing gigs around the rest of the country soon too.”

And, last week he was elected chairman of the Jazz Society.

“I’ll have the opportunity to meet more musicians and run some excellent gigs and classes around Dublin. I want people to realise that the society isn’t just about standard jazz, it covers a huge range of genres of music, like blues, funk, soul and swing to name but a few.

“There’s something for everyone in the Society, whether you are a musician or someone who appreciates a good ‘oul’ tune.”

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