RIP Louis Stewart (1944-2016)

Louis Stewart at Certaldo in 2005
Photo credit: Andrew Condon / Courtesy of GMF

Irish guitarist Louis Stewart passed away earlier today at the age of 72. He passed away peacefully in a hospice, after a short battle against cancer.

His career from the late 1960's onwards took him to the highest level worldwide, but his loss is most deeply felt today in the Irish jazz community. As a self-taught home-grown musician who had unquestionably made his mark internationally, Stewart is - with very good reason - utterly revered by the Irish jazz community.

New York-based guitarist David O'Rourke has described him on Facebook page as "my hero, my mentor, my influence, MY FRIEND!"

Ronan Guilfoyle has written: "For young aspirant jazz musicians of my generation Louis was a God - the man who had done it all, the first Irish jazz musician to be of a level with the very best in the world, and as such he was an example and inspiration to all of us."

Oliver Dowling who promoted him for the past 11 years, and organized his last appearance on October 4th, 2015 says: "It was an honour and a privilege to have known him, a true gentleman and a amazing musician. He enjoyed his pints of Guinness, his favourite Irish whiskey (Paddy), and his cigarettes. A very quiet and humble man, who was extraordinary when he played his guitar. He was one of the last to not own a mobile phone or have access to the Internet. He often talked to me about his time in London playing with Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes. I will miss him."

LINKs: Louis Stewart website
Biography at Irish Rock


  1. Very sad news. Louis was one of the true giants of his instrument - a hugely accomplished musician and a lovely, gentle man. I spent a day with him in Edinburgh back in 2011 (we did a couple of gigs together with Brian Kellock and co.) and he was charm itself; modest, generous in his spirit and hugely encouraging to all those around him. May he rest in peace.

    1. agreed Simon, that was such a special day when you and Louis recreated the magic of the Tubby Hayes Quartet. Louis and I played together in the evening with every jazz guitar player in Scotland in attendance as an act of homage to the great man. RIP Louis and thanks for being so gracious and inspiring. Regards; Ken

  2. Yes, sad indeed; appreciated but maybe underrated and not appreciated enough. Louis Stewart was admired by musicians and fans in other countries, often seen as a purist. Up there with Jim Hall, Joe Pass, even Kenny Burrell, though he had his own innovative style, as these solos with Benny Goodman indicate. RIP Louis.

  3. As a student in Dublin many years ago we often went to see him at the Parnell Bar. I didn't understand the magic of jazz until i saw him play. An amazing musician and a lovely guy. May he rest in peace.

  4. I had the privelege to play with Louis at Cork in '96 with Honor Heffernan as well. Always a hero - and I don't play guitar. Loved his music and especially with Tubby Hayes in 60's.

  5. In the late 60s and early 70s Louis played in the basement of Slattery's pub on Capel Street in Dublin. During that time he also played in a parish hall in Cornelscourt, south Dublin called the Foxrock Folk Club and at Trinity College and even in a local secondary school, Benildus College in south Dublin. Through these events, many schoolchildren and students witnessed a world standard of playing they would otherwise not have seen and many of us followed Louis throughout his long playing career. Every note was rich and full and perfectly enunciated. It was a privilege to have him in our city.