Derry Jazz Festival musician on the joy of being back doing what he loves

Jazz guitarist Tom Ollendorff has had many amazing experiences traveling to different countries and performing alongside renowned musicians.

Now he is looking forward to soaking up the unique and special atmosphere of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival 2022 as he prepares to play the event for the first time.

Tom was awarded the Yamaha Fellowship for Excellence in Jazz Music in 2015 and since then has quickly earned a reputation as an exceptional improviser and imaginative composer.

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Tom is also a visiting tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

As part of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, the Tom Ollendorff Trio will take the stage at the Playhouse Theater on Sunday May 1, with the trio completed by Conor Chaplin on bass and Marc Michel on drums.

Having received accolades from the likes of the Guardian and the BBC, and Tom even being described as “one of the best guitarists in the world” by one reviewer, this is a must-watch for jazz fans.

As the easing of Covid-19 restrictions has slowly allowed more gigs and travel to return, Tom has returned to doing what he loves most – and he can’t wait to make his Jazz Festival debut on next weekend.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a fantastic opportunity and that’s really what it’s about and why we love being musicians.

“Since releasing my first record last year, I’ve had the chance to play in some amazing places and I’m really looking forward to being a part of this festival.

“I also saw footage of the Playhouse Theater and it’s such a beautiful venue which makes it all the more exciting.”

Tom also talked about how much he was looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere at NI’s biggest and best jazz festival.

He said: “A festival like this celebrating jazz is amazing and although we’re only making a whirlwind visit for one day, I’m delighted to see some of the other acts and events that are happening and to see the buzz on the streets.

“I know some of the other musicians who are involved and there is such a talented line-up with so much to offer.



Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke with Foyle College student Molly Hannaway, Diageo Stephen Thompson and Festival Coordinator Andrea Campbell, DCSDC

“After the last few years, it’s great to remember how many people love this music and want to know more. It’s what I’ve dedicated my life to, so it’s great to be part of something that celebrate that.

Tom continued: “I’ve toured a lot as a sideman before, but doing it myself is something I really enjoy.

“I’ve been blessed since the release of my first record to have had such a brilliant response and had the opportunity to take it to different places and venues and I can’t wait for the chance to perform it for the City audience of the Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.”

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