Nigel Mooney: The Bohemian Mooney

Fri, May 31, 2013, 00:00


The Bohemian Mooney

Nigel Mooney

Lyte Records


Nigel Mooney scored what, for an Irish jazz musician, amounted to a smash hit when his 2005 debut album, All My Love’s in Vain, reached the heady heights of No 37 in the pop charts. Mooney’s jaunty blend of classic blues, unstoppable jazz grooves and dry Dublin wit struck a chord with jazzers and civilians alike, and great things were predicted. It may have taken eight years, but The Bohemian Mooney sounds like just one of those great things.

Mooney’s Gripewater Blues Band spearheaded Dublin’s blues revival in the 1980s, but three chords were never going to be enough for the self-taught guitarist. By the late 1990s he had developed a sound of his own, one that owed more to Ray Charles than to Robert Johnson, and with lyrics that replaced the tired old woke-up-this-morning clichés of the blues with wry observations on love, life and motor cars.

The Bohemian Mooney takes that sound to another level, courtesy of a stage full of Irish and international talent, including guitarist Louis Stewart, who lays down some impeccable rhythm guitar, and 1960s heart-throb Georgie Fame, who duets with Mooney on one of the album’s stand-out tracks, a storming big band version of the old Mel Tormé classic Down for Double.

Credit for the album’s big, beautiful sound must also go to saxophonist Michael Buckley who, with just a few horns and a lot of overdubbing, has conjured up a sound that Count Basie would have been proud of.

Great tunes, great sound and a great line in deadpan humour – if he’s not careful, Mooney may have another hit on his hands.