Louis Stewart   Dublin Jazz   Martin Curry

David O'Rourke David O' Rourke

To guitarist David O'Rourke, professional and personal fulfillment means playing jazz. Born into a musical family in Dublin, Ireland in 1960, O'Rourke's early instruction on the piano gave him a strong foundation in composition and arrangement. Classic jazz albums in his father's collection also gave him insight into improvisation and inspired his musical direction.

Propelled by the works of such greats as Wes Montgomery, Hank Garland, Pat Martino, George Benson and Louis Stewart, O'Rourke began his jazz career in 1981 as the guitarist for his own quintet, Giant Steps.

In January of 1982 he played a duet engagement for a week with one of his idols, Louis Stewart. In June he became the first jazz finalist in the national "Young Musician of the Future" and made his orchestral debut as a soloist with the R.T.E. Orchestra. The same year he traveled to the United States where he studied with Pat Martino and jammed with Bucky Pizzarelli.

In 1983 O'Rourke's quartet won the "Best Band" accolade on the Guinness Cork Festival Club Circuit. Again, at '85's Festival he teamed up with baritone saxophonist Ronnie Ross for outstanding performances in the concert and club setting.

In 1988 O'Rourke joined a remarkable ensemble - The Five Guitars - featuring Louis Stewart, Mike Nielsen, Hugh Buckley and Bill Brady. O'Rourke's arrangement "Charlie's New Baby" of the Charlie Christian solos on "I've Found A New Baby" was termed a "highlight" of that year's Festival by the Irish Times. At the '88 Festival O'Rourke also played with Turk Mauro's Quartet and special guest Teddy Edwards.

Back to New York at the end of '89 he met pianist Larry Willis who invited O'Rourke to sit in with him at Bradley's. In 1990 he shared the stage with saxophonist Charles McPherson on his first return to Cork.

In New York in '91 O'Rourke began his professional relationship with Willis and recorded with him along with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Al Harewood. In August of that year he arranged and orchestrated a Porgy and Bess medley which was played by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Larry Willis.

In October '91 O'Rourke and Willis Conducted workshops in Dublin, provided radio and T.V. interviews in Cork and rounded out their stay with three successful engagements at the Festival Club in Cork.

Back in New York O'Rourke made his major venue headlining debut when he led an ensemble with Donald Harrison, Kirk Lightsey, Bob Cranshaw and Steve Berrios. In June of 1992, O'Rourke participated in the JVC Jazz Festival by performing with Harold Ousley and Vernel Fournier at the top of the Empire State Building.

By this time after having jammed regularly with Hammond B3 Groove Professor Seleno Clarke in Harlem Jazz Clubs Seleno invited David to join his quintet introducing him to an increasingly wider audience as well as helping to steer David's playing into the groove he so loves, their chemistry onstage and off led to a special documentary feature (Stateside) for broadcast on Ireland's RTE, New York's WNYC and nationally on PBS. David was also by now leading a trio of his own with organist Oliver Von Essen and drummer Dave Gibson on a regular Tuesday night at The Squire.

In '94 O'Rourke played Cork with Kirk Lightsey, Ali Ryerson, David Williams and Stephen Keogh. In '95 he fulfilled a lifelong dream of working with pianist/composer Cedar Walton when he performed a 4-day engagement with Cedar's trio (David Williams and Kenny Washington) leading the Irish Times Jazz Critic to single this band as THE band of that year's festival . In early '96 David performed on the world live premiere performance of George Russell's "Concerto for Billy the Kid" and Frank Wess's "Half Moon Street" in a Big Band comprising of several of the original "Atomic" Basie Band as well as members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra at New Yorks Town Hall. In March of this year as part of Seleno's quintet he performed the first music to be played in the legendary birthplace of BeBop Harlem's "Minton's Playhouse" and on April 14th on a special benefit concert to aid NAMA (New Amsterdam Music Association) David led a 22 piece Band with mostly his own compositions and all his own arrangements including a special project combining his native Ireland's traditional music with jazz, salsa and rap leading Rolling Stone magazine's John Swenson to call what he heard " a New York Symphony - musical history was made" .

O'Rourke's commitment to playing jazz on the New York front has it's rewards. Thus far its bright moments include sharing the bandstand with George Benson, Jack McDuff, Harold Mabern, Etta Jones, Benny Powell, Jerome Richardson, Virgil Jones, Frank Wess, Ronnie Mathews, Jerry Dodgion and many others.

David now finds himself constantly active through performing, arranging and composing for both large and small ensembles, and his teaching shows the same wide range as his performing because of his involvement with young children as well as his clinics at college level.

David has recently guested on an album by Fintan O'Neill "In The Moment" on Amosaya Records. The Line up is Brian Lynch: Trumpet, Bill Pierce: Saxophones, Essiet Okon Essiet: Bass, Mark Johnson: Drums & Fintan on Piano. David guests on 2 tunes

For info. and bookings contact (212) 475-8700.

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