If I could play like one Irish piano player – I would pick it to be Jim Doherty.
His son, the comedian David O’Doherty, in collaboration with Second Captains, produced a daily podcast during both lockdowns this year – the first from Achill Island, where he and his parents lived for the months of March to June, and more recently from Dublin. The podcast was largely a monologue for 20-30 mins per episode, with O’Doherty managing to make the mundane funny in his unique way.
The only special guest on the podcast in its 99 episodes, was his Dad Jim, and one of my highlights of the year was listening to Mr. Jim Doherty play jazz requests from his living room in Achill Island while the whole country was confined to their houses. Magic.
Today I heard him again. Playing a medley of Christmas standards to celebrate the end of Lockdown 2 and the end of the podcast. And again it stopped me in my tracks. The intimacy of it, the quality of the playing – the chords he used.
And then I saw Jim Gray on Twitter had retweeted a tribute from Paul McCartney to his songwriting partner John on the 40th anniversary of his death.
And I got the urge to play something he wrote.
And then I wondered what would Jim play? What would Jim do with his music?
And I wasn’t getting anywhere. Because brilliant and all as Jim is, he wasn’t in Sligo to play it for me today. So instead I decided to figure what I would like to play. And if a bit of Jim sneaks in there somehow, all the better.
I’m not sure did John ever meet Jim. Or if Jim every played with John. But the world is a better place for them having been here in it. Thanks for all the music lads.