Louis Stewart: A Solo Journey

louis stewart jazz guitarist

The Life and Music of a Jazz Guitar Legend

Louis Stewart (1944-2016) is undoubtedly one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. His exceptional musicality, virtuosity, and rich tone have earned him accolades from fellow musicians and fans alike. Stewart played an essential role in one of Tubby Hayes’ best ensembles, was a member of Ronnie Scott’s Quintet, and joined the house band at Ronnie Scott’s club. He also performed with notable artists such as Benny Goodman, George Shearing, and Clark Terry before becoming a bandleader himself.

Louis Stewart

‘Out On His Own’: A Milestone Album

“Out On His Own,” recorded in 1977 during a brief return home amid Stewart’s busy London and European engagements, showcases his remarkable talent as a solo artist. This album followed a trio recording (“Louis The First,” 1975) and a duo set with double bassist Peter Ind (“Beyond Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” 1976). It was only natural that Stewart would be the sole musician on this record, playing both lead and accompanying guitar on half of the tracks.

Livia Records is reissuing the album on February 24th, nearly 50 years after its original release by label founder Gerald Davis.

Expanded and Remastered

The reissued CD (with vinyl to follow) includes five additional tracks beyond the original album. Three of these had been added to a 1995 CD release by the German specialist guitar label Jardis, while the remaining two are being released for the first time. The remastering by Michael Buckley highlights the exquisite sound quality of the original recording, which was skillfully captured in just over a day by Pat Hayes at his basement studio in Bray (near Dublin). The result is a warm, intimate showcase of Stewart’s beloved Gibson archtop guitar.

A Varied and Impressive Repertoire

The album’s selection of songs spans a range of American Songbook standards and jazz compositions. Some of Stewart’s solo performances, such as “I’m Old Fashioned,” are so extraordinary that it’s difficult to tell if they’re self-accompanied or not. His dual-guitar approach is particularly effective on up-tempo tracks like “Blue Bossa” and the gorgeous rendition of Chick Corea’s “Windows.”

Additionally, the album features less conventional choices, such as Steve Swallow’s “General Mojo’s Well-Laid Plan” with its lovely melody and a too-brief interpretation of the traditional Irish folk song “She Moved Through the Fair.” Among the previously unreleased tracks is a superb two-guitar version of Charles Lloyd’s “Forest Flower” and a spontaneously recorded blues track, with Stewart delivering electrifying runs and turnarounds.

Visit the album on Bandcamp

Livia Records’ official website

“Out on His Own” will be released on February 24th, providing a fantastic opportunity to rediscover the genius of Louis Stewart and an important piece of Irish jazz history.

About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.