Ian is dedicated to the promotion of jazz and all creative music all over the world, and to catching just a little piece of it for himself.
My first piece of journalism resulted in the threat of legal action against the
newspaper and of a paramilitary style punishment for myself. Surely too much
fuss for an unflattering review of a Gary Moore concert? Two wrongs don't make a
right I thought. Although some have interpreted my later move from the north of
Ireland to London as an act of cowardice, it was really more to do with catching all
the gigs of which we were starved in gloomy '80s Belfast.
The Nice jazz festival of 1986 was my first real exposure to jazz. Miles Davis'
opening number blew me away and I was instantly converted. A year later I had
slipped unnoticed out of Belfast and arrived in London, kneecaps intact. For the
next four years I feasted on live music; from Bowie to Fairport Convention, from
Fleetwood Mac to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, from Roy Harper to Frank Zappa. Jazz
however, was my musical drug of choice and I criss-crossed the dirty ol' town, the
country, and continental Europe to see the likes of Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Ray
Charles, John McLaughlin, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Courtney Pine, John
Scofield, Sun Ra, Etta James, Andy Sheppard, Wayne Shorter, James Blood Ulmer
and of course Miles.
Ten years in Mediterranean Italy and Spain gave me a more European perspective
on jazz as well as a love for flamenco, red wine and the much underrated siesta.
I spent seven years in the Communist-Socialist-
Capitalist-Buddhist-Animist state of Laos where a siesta works anywhere, anytime - a complicated yet somehow
enlightened country. There, I kept an eye out for jazz
gigs, though these were almost as rare as the Irrawaddy dolphin. Both were sometimes spotted, which was cause for
hope, though the latter is sadly on the critically endangered list.
In 2013 I returned to Ireland where the siesta is generally viewed with primitive scorn. Thankfully, the music has never
been more exciting.
All About Jazz has allowed me the opportunity to cover jazz concerts/festivals in
Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong,
Borneo, Singapore, Laos, Australia, China, the Palestinian Territories, Italy,
England, France, Poland, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Portugal,
Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Lebanon and Ireland.
It all began rather by accident, when I stumbled across All About Jazz one fateful
day over a bowl of noodles in Bangkok.