March 24, 2024
Jazz singer Melanie O'Reilly with pianist Frank Martin.
Internationally renowned Irish jazz vocalist Melanie O’Reilly joins Bay Area’s top pianist Frank Martin in this special house concert. Together they perform original works, with an innovative unique sound expressing a compelling bridge between Irish music and jazz. This formidable duo embarks on a musical voyage inspired by Gaelic poetry, Irish myths and the works of literary giants such as James Joyce, and Sean O Riordain. They will also treat you to their mesmerizing performances of jazz standards.
Melanie O’Reilly is a singer and songwriter renowned for her fusion of jazz and Irish traditional music. After studying dramatic performance at the Brendan Smith Theatre Academy, Melanie started her professional career as a jazz singer and composer blending American jazz with Irish traditional music to create vocal Celtic Jazz – her trademark. She has released a number of albums and toured extensively across Europe and the United States. Musicians she has performed with include Larry Coryell, Oliver Jones, Darius Brubeck, George Brooks, Simon Rowe, Frank Martin and Louis Stewart.
“I was lucky enough to hear live performances of Irish traditional musicians at the famous Foxrock Folk Club as a young teenager. Their performances were followed by Dublin jazz musicians such as the Louis Stewart Trio. The night both The Chieftains and Louis Stewart Trio jammed together blew my mind. I knew I was witnessing something special. An incredible fusion of two great traditions: Irish Trad music blending with the American art form. Old yet new.”
Melanie, an international performer now based back in her native Ireland, is known for her initiative Celtic jazz sound; "a thoroughly modern take on the jazz tradition…utterly transformative.” —LA Music Connection. Her exhilarating and unique blend of jazz and Irish traditional music creates a powerful new exploration that journeys to untouched musical frontiers and which captivates audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, “Gorgeous sound… a Celtic cadence with a jazz sensibility” —Berkeleyside.
She is recognized in Downbeat magazine as one of Ireland’s international jazz representatives having performed at festivals and venues worldwide, such as the California Jazz Conservatory, New York’s Lincoln Center, The Black Cat SF, Angelica’s Jazz Club Redwood City, Take 5 Jazz Club at the Brubeck Institute, International House Berkeley, the Irish Center SF, and Keys Jazz Club, among others. She has also represented Ireland at the European Jazz Festival at Schoenberg Hall, Los Angeles. She was awarded Jazz Artist-in-Residence at Wexford Arts Centre from 2021 till 2023, and continues to perform her music to sell-out audiences.
She is also the creator and host of the award winning radio show “Jazz on the Bay”, which garnered her a National Radio Award of Ireland , originally broadcast on RTE, and was recently re-broadcast on KCSM.org, California's jazz station.
Frank Martin, a Northern California native, continues a career as a pianist and keyboard player that has found him performing with everyone from Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, and Jennifer Hudson, to John McLaughlin, the Richard Bona Band, Trilok Gurta and Larry Coryell, to Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Chris Isaak, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. He has traveled as Musical Director for artists Patti Austin, Angela Bofill, Narada Michael Walden, and Roy Ares to name a few.
Currently he serves as a Governor for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and is an adjunct Faculty member in the Jazz Dept of the University of California at Berkeley, as well as on staff at the Berkeley Jazz School.
What the Critics Say:
“A thoroughly modern take on the jazz tradition...utterly transformative” —Ken Kubernik, Author/Record Producer/Journalist Music Connection.
"Spellbinding... uplifting music from a true innovator" — Rough Guide to Irish Music
“Celtic Jazz vocalist Melanie O’Reilly…one of Ireland’s foremost jazz ambassadors” — Downbeat (magazine)
"...A wondrous mix of what this fine singer is all about - a deep passion for Irish Traditional music and Jazz...with O'Reilly's voice weaving a spell..." — Matt Nugent, Evening Herald
“Technically perfect and capable of singing in any number of styles, [O’Reilly] also injects songs with a rare depth of feeling and drama.” — The Irish Times
"Melanie O'Reilly has studiously carved herself a considerable reputation as a jazz singer with a keen ear for the cross-currents that link jazz's lateral thinking with Irish folk and traditional music" — The Irish Times
“Gorgeous sound…Celtic cadence with a jazz sensibility” — Andy Gilbert, Berkeleyside (California)
“A very special talent…I want to do everything I can to expose her beautiful artistry to the rest of the world.” — Larry Coryell
“Extraordinary…whether she sings Irish traditional, jazz or Jacques Prevert.” — Le Telegramme
“The royal voice of Melanie O’Reilly has opened a new door; that of a Celtic spirit always ready for new influences, an ancient spirit urgent to enrich itself” — Le Telegramme
“Breathtaking amazing emotional intensity…sheer virtuosity” — The Irish Times