The Tommy Halferty Trio | Burkina

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by The Tommy Halferty Trio

Leading Irish jazz guitarist Tommy Halferty and his trio featuring Dave Redmond on bass & Kevin Brady on drums join forces to release their highly anticipated album entitled Burkina. Featuring elements of jazz, pop, and captivating musical improvisation
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Algiers La Blanche
7:58 $0.99
2. Norma & Kenny
5:27 $0.99
3. D42
7:36 $0.99
4. One for Annie
6:43 $0.99
5. Airflight
4:29 $0.99
6. Paramour
6:18 $0.99
7. She's a Woman
6:20 $0.99
8. Jala a La Montuno
3:27 $0.99
9. Now I Know
6:04 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Artists' and musicians' alike in one way or another, develop the idea of re-inventing themselves at a certain period of their careers to avoid the possible drying up of their inspirational source. This re-invention generally takes the shape of a new expression of their artistic selves . This CD has created for me this new expression, evading the drought of my musical source and has placed me in a more open and creative position to perform my music. Of course, this would not have happened without the musical help of both Kevin and Dave who have in their respective ways extended my musical horizons.

Some of the titles on the CD are self-explanatory: Algiers la Blanche' a strange and wonderful city. Air-flight' speaks for itself. D42 the name of the room which became my entire world as my former self as a secondary teacher. Other titles are personal choices One for Annie, others are by famous musicians who have become part of my musical life as well as close friends. I would like to dedicate this album to my family Annie, Maud,Hugo,Chris, Scott, Thomas and Lara.

Recorded at The Ventry Studios, Balbriggan on the 10th of May 2013.
Engineered & Mixed by Dave Mc'Cune

Mastered by Thomas Schmidt at Thon Studios Munich,Germany
Produced by Tommy Halferty, Kevin Brady & Dave Redmond



to write a review


" Music that veers between the reflective and the frenetic"
Born in Derry, Tommy Halferty embarked on his musical career in the late 1970s. This highly-regarded musician has performed at festivals in Portugal, Tel-Aviv, Colombia and Barcelona. He has duetted with renowned guitarists, John Abercrombie and John Etheridge, and with American alto sax supremo, Lee Konitz. He once formed a trio with Tommy Hayes on bodhrán and Ronan Browne on pipes which blended traditional music and jazz, and they appeared on T.V. in Germany and Ireland. In 1991, the guitarist was commissioned to write O’Connell Street for RTÉ's musical celebration of Dublin as Cultural Capital of Europe. He played for President Clinton when he visited Ireland in November 1996. At L'Imaginaire Irlandais the same year, Tommy performed concerts in Nantes, Morlaix and Tréguier in France. The guitarist was also a member of Khanda, which fused Indian, Flamenco, Arabic and Irish music.

He spent many years as a teacher of music, and campaigned successfully to get jazz on to the current Leaving Certificate Music course.

In fact, the fast-tempo track, D42 on his new CD, Burkina gets its title from the name of the room where he once taught music as a secondary school teacher. The nine-track album can be a rumbustious, busy affair with the trio (Dave Redmond, bass, Kevin Brady, drums) firing on all cylinders already by track two, the samba-tinged Norma & Kenny. The opening number, Algiers la Blanche, is more reflective, and conjures a white city in blazing sun, with cool, palm-fringed thoroughfares. Tommy writes of “a strange and wonderful city” in the liner note.

One for Annie, is a quietly probing piece, with expressive bass from Dave Redmond. The wistful Paramour is perhaps the richest piece of music on the album, as it reaches for secret places in the soul. The album’s title, incidentally, refers to Burkina Faso where Halferty's wife Annie – no doubt the dedicatee of the track of that name - helps to fund hospitals and schools for that country's street children. Contributed by Paddy Kehoe

The Sunday Independent - Ireland

“Halferty Trio's relaxed tempo is music to the ears”
“Halferty Trio's relaxed tempo is music to the ears”
The Tommy Halferty trio has been playing as a regular unit for some time now, and it shows in the strong rapport between the musicians. The guitarist, whose hallmarks are a glowing sound, a feeling for melody and a way of sounding relaxed at every tempo.Brady's powerful drumming and Redmond's driving bass enhance the drama of D42 and the turbulent atmosphere of the bop-style Air flight. In contrast, Paramour is lyrical and tender. The title of the CD, Burkina, refers to Burkina Faso where Tommy Halferty's wife Annie helps to fund hospitals and schools for the country's street children.

All About Jazz - Ian Patterson

“Excellent musicianship all add up to a fine lesson in the art of the jazz guita
Veteran Irish guitarist Tommy Halferty has played in numerous settings over the past four decades, from duos with Stephane Grappelli, John Abercrombie and John Etheridge to small ensemble forays with the likes of George Mraz, Lee Konitz and Benny Golson. Perhaps it's in a trio format, however, where Halferty feels most at home, crafting notable collaborations with John Wadham and Ronan Guilfoyle in the early 1980s, with Guilfoyle and Keith Copeland in the 1990s and with Jean Philippe and Christophe Lavergne for the past twenty five years. Here, Halferty's latest trio incarnation pits him with two of Dublin's best in Kevin Brady and Dave Redmond on a highly enjoyable set that balances power and nuance, freedom and form.

The in-the-moment energy and live feel of the session is no doubt due to the single day of recording required to nail down the music. Slap dash, however, this is not. All three musicans had a hand in the production and mastering was done in Munich, resulting in superior sound quality whilst maintaining the raw edge more usually associated with a live recording. The music covers a variety of tempos and styles, with African, Iberian and blues tones flavoring what is largely straight ahead fare.

On mid-tempo tracks "Algiers La Blanche" and "Norma and Kenny" Redmond's swinging bass—alternating between grooving motifs and probing runs—and Brady's inventive drive spur Halferty to gutsy extended improvisations that nevertheless champion melody. The latter track is an ode to Norma Winstone—with whom Halferty performed on Irish gigs in 1993—and the late Kenny Wheeler. Halferty turns to one of Wheeler's most consistent collaborators—and a likely source of personal influence—on Abercrombie's "Paramour"—an acoustic ballad where Brady's brushwork underpins the playful lyricism of bass and guitar. The other acoustic ballad, "One for Annie" follows a similar blueprint though has more of the feel of a slow waltz.

The trio edges its way slowly into "D42" before lively brushes and a springy bass motif steer Halferty into an African-flavored canter. A ruminative, James Blood Ulmer-esque passage slows the pulse before the trio kicks on—Brady now on sticks—with Halferty and then Redmond displaying tasteful chops. Redmond switches to electric strings on the boppish "Airflight" and the slow, blues-funk of Paul McCartney/The Beatles' "She's a Woman." On the latter, Halferty's fuzz-toned, African filter evokes a grungy John Scofield.

Elsewhere, Halferty on rakish acoustic goes toe to toe with Brady on the Latin-tinged sweat-breaker "Jala a la Monunuo." Still on acoustic, Halferty leads from the front on "Now I Know"; subtly buoyant bass and propulsive brushwork accompany the guitarist as he moves from caressing lyricism to fleet improvisation that juggles chords and single note lines.

This trio has been together over four years and it shows in the empathetic interplay. The deft use of space, the smooth changes of gear and the excellent musicianship all add up to a fine lesson in the art of the jazz guitar trio.
Track Listing: Algiers la Blanche; Norma and Kenny; D42; One for Annie; Airflight; Paramour; She’s a Woman;
Jala a la Montuno; Now I Know.

Personnel: Tommy Halferty: electric and acoustic guitars; Dave Redmond: acoustic and electric bass; Kevin Brady: drums.

By Ian Patterson, Published: January 13, 2015

"A highly accomplished guitar trio album with a great rapport among the musician
The Dublin based musician Tommy Halferty is recognised as one of Ireland’s leading jazz guitarists. Born in Derry he has been musically active since the late 1970s following studies with that other great Irish guitar player, Louis Stewart. Halferty’s impressive CV is too lengthy to list in full here but an extensive overview of his career can be found on his website
Halferty is a versatile musician who has played in a variety of jazz contexts as well as collaborating with a group of French folk musicians as part of the band Ogham. Indeed many of Halferty’s collaborations have been international affairs and he has worked with some of the biggest names in jazz including saxophonists Lee Konitz and Dave Liebman, violinist Stephane Grappelli, bassist George Mraz and pianist Martial Solal.

Halferty’s current trio features bassist Dave Redmond and drummer Kevin Brady and it was the latter who forwarded me a copy of this self released album recorded at Dublin’s Ventry Studios in May 2013 and mixed at Thon Studios in Munich, Germany. My apologies to Kevin for only just getting around to reviewing it but the start of a New Year seemed like a good time to take a look at this recording by a musician who is relatively little known in the UK but whose playing and writing here suggests that he is worthy of greater attention.
Meanwhile Brady has appeared on the Jazzmann web pages before, firstly as a member of the Dublin based organ trio Organics whose album “New Light” was the subject of a review as far back as 2006! I later got to see him perform live at the 2011 Brecon Jazz Festival when he and Redmond performed as part of a trio featuring American pianist Bill Carrothers.

And so to “Burkina”, a collection of six Halferty originals plus covers of tunes by John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler and The Beatles.
The album opens with Halferty’s own “Algiers la Blanche”, his dedication to the “strange and wonderful city” of Algiers. Halferty’s liner notes also speak of the “open and creative” nature of the trio and this is much in evidence on this elegantly smouldering slow burner of a tune with the guitarist’s melodic inventions supported by Brady’s subtly colourful drumming and Redmond’s anchoring bass.
Halferty has had a long musical association with British vocalist Norma Winstone dating back to a tour of Ireland in 1993 and subsequent appearances at the Cork and Bray jazz festivals. The guitarist’s “Norma & Kenny” is his tribute to both the singer and the late Kenny Wheeler. Written long before Wheeler’s death it’s a lively, celebratory, bebop flavoured tune with Halferty’s warm toned guitar sounding a little like Pat Metheny. Brady chatters energetically around him and gets to enjoy an effervescent extended drum break while Redmond supplies an energising bass pulse. Good stuff.

Besides his musical activities Halferty has also worked as a primary school teacher and the title of “D42” honours his former classroom. There’s an excellent rapport between the three instruments on a contemplative, loosely structured intro with Brady’s cymbal work particularly impressive. The main theme of the tune is highly accessible with Halferty again exhibiting something of Metheny’s melodic flair and with Redmond’s driving bass figure at the heart of the music. The bassist also gets to enjoy an upbeat solo that highlights his swinging dexterity.

Dedicated to his wife “One for Annie” is a highly personal tune, a delightful ballad that sees Halferty adopting an acoustic guitar sound. His nimble Spanish flavoured picking is complemented by the richness of Redmond’s bass and Brady’s neatly detailed, mainly brushed, drumming. Redmond displays his melodic qualities with an excellent solo, part of a superbly balanced trio performance.
“Airflight” begins with the sound of Brady’s drums which remain prominent throughout as the trio mesh tightly together on a subtly funky tune that is reminiscent of “Bright Size Life” era Metheny. Both Redmond and Brady are extensively featured with lengthy solos. As the upbeat title suggests it’s terrific fun.

“Paramour”, by the great American guitarist John Abercrombie, is the first of the outside items. The tune first appeared on Abercrombie’s 1978 quartet album “Arcade” released on ECM Records. The Halferty Trio’s interpretation of this elegant tune is a quiet delight with the guitarist’s cleanly picked lines complemented by the purr of Redmond’s bass and Brady’s light, splashy cymbal touch. The bassist solos in melodic fashion above a backdrop of sparse guitar chording and delicately brushed drums.
Presumably The Beatles were a significant influence on the young Halferty. The trio’s take on the little known Paul McCartney song “She’s A Woman” (it was originally issued as the B side of the single “I Feel Fine”) is an effective blend of rock, jazz and blues influences with a sparkling solo from Halferty allied to fluid but muscular bass and drums.

The exotic Halferty original “Jala a la Montuno” features fiercely strummed acoustic guitar allied to a percussive tour de force from Brady who impresses throughout with a constantly inventive flow of rhythmic ideas. There’s some nimble picking from Halferty too as the pair exchange ideas in thrilling fashion.

The sad demise of Kenny Wheeler in October 2014 adds an extra poignancy to the trio’s interpretation of his composition “Now I Know”. Halferty’s agile acoustic playing again features on a piece that begins in languid fashion but gradually increases in intensity as the tune unfolds with the trio continuing to exhibit that openness and creativity of which the leader speaks. Halferty’s low key virtuosity is well supported by quietly busy brushed drums and the steadying influence of Redmond’s bass.

“Burkina” may not break any new ground but it’s a highly accomplished guitar trio album with a great rapport among the musicians. Halferty’s writing covers a broad stylistic range and the outside material is well chosen with the Abercrombie tune a definite album highlight. Everybody plays well and impresses in terms of both virtuosity and versatility. The mix by engineers Dave McCune in Dublin and Thomas Schmidt in Munich is crystal clear and the three musicians share the production credit.

There is no title track so for those who were wondering “Burkina” is derived from Burkina Faso where Halferty’s wife Annie helps with the funding of hospitals and schools for the country’s street children.