A Question of Taste: Paul Dunlea

Paul Dunlea is the first artist-in- residence for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, which takes place this weekend.

A Question of Taste: Paul Dunlea

By Des O’Driscoll

Paul Dunlea is the first artist-in- residence for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, which takes place this weekend. Originally from Mayfield, Cork, he lives in Carrigaline with his wife Susan and their twin boys Aedan & Casey. As well as his jazz leanings, Paul is also a member of the Band 1 Brigade of the Defence Forces. He plays the Green Room of Cork Opera House on Saturday at 11.45pm.

Best recent book you’ve read: Fred Hersch — Good Things Happen Slowly.

Best recent film: Black 47.

Best recent gig you’ve seen: The Gloaming during their residency at the National Concert Hall.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Maria Schneider recently, who is one of the headline acts in Cork City Hall for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Especially the Thompson Fields album.

First ever piece of music or gig that really moved you: One of the first pieces of music that I can remember listening to until I nearly wore the cassette tape out was Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland.

The best gig you’ve ever seen: The first time I visited the Village Vanguard to catch the big band there on their Monday night residency. I think it may have been about 2001. Just even being in the room was unbelievable.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I’m a sports fanatic so I watch as much live sport as I can. Apart from that I tend to watch documentaries and binge on box sets etc.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: I listen to a lot of podcasts. I spend a lot of time on the road with both my job in the Defence Forces and with my freelance work so I listen to true crime podcasts like Casefile. I’m also big fans of the Off the Ball podcasts and Peter Crouch’s new podcast on the BBC is very good too.

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill, living or dead: John Coltrane. JJ Johnson. Bob Brookmeyer.

Of the international acts at this year’s jazz fest, who would you most like to see: Easily the Maria Schneider Orchestra. It’s a band filled with some of the best improvising musicians on the planet playing some of the best music ever written for large jazz ensemble.

Your best celebrity encounter: I was doing the house band gig on the Late Late Show a few years ago and got to meet Bryan Cranston at the height of Breaking Bad.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why: I’d love to have heard Bach or Paganini play, or have heard Coltrane live.

Any interesting ancestors or family: Both sides of my family have a rich musical history. My mum’s brother Brian plays tuba with the Barrack Street Band and has done so for the best part of four decades. My mum’s other brother Con did do too until recently. It’s with them that I began to play trombone myself... so this is all their fault!

On my mum’s side, there are a few All lreland Hurling medals for Cork as well as a few Senior County Championship medals. On my father’s side there’s a famous opera singer that made a career for himself in America in the early 20th century — William ‘Wallou’ Dunlea. My uncle Andy Dunne has been gigging for decades also.

Unsung hero: Anybody that gives their own time to make somebody else’s situation better or easier.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree: No rent.

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