Light Streams is the follow-up to the enthusiastically received debut album by Cork-born, Hertfordshire-based pianist John Donegan’s Irish Sextet, Shadows Linger.
A musician of huge experience – he has played with jazz luminaries Art Blakey, Art Farmer, Barney Kessel and Greg Abate as well as the world class Irish guitarist Louis Stewart – Donegan formed his Irish sextet just before the covid pandemic in 2019.
Featuring the Buckley brothers, Michael and Richie, on saxophones, Whirlwind Recordings artist Linley Hamilton on trumpet and a rhythm section of Donegan, bassist Dan Bodwell and drummer John Daly, the group represents all four corners of Ireland and illustrates the high quality of jazz musicianship that Ireland has to offer.
Following an initial tour, the sextet was put on hold until lockdown was lifted but Donegan used the hiatus to compose music specifically for the group.
“When I started this project, I was unaware of the wonderful musical cooperation between Michael and Richie Buckley,” says Donegan, who has also played with the brothers’ father, Dick Buckley. “I was delighted to discover that Shadows Linger was the first album they’d recorded together and the great vibe they and the other players brought to that recording continues on Light Streams.”
The “sheer panache” and assertive playing that Jazzwise magazine’s Peter Vacher identified in his four-star review of Shadows Linger also feature again on Light Streams, which comprises ten Donegan compositions including the reflective title track, the bright melodic opener What’s This? and the punchy, imaginatively written Showtime.
Donegan’s hallmark, as a composer and an improviser, is his finely honed melodicism. His music is carefully crafted, often with pleasingly surprising shifts in harmony and his overall concept reflects his love for both the direct, bluesy communication and crisp attack of the Jazz Messengers and the melodic spirit of his native Irish traditional music.