Funeral of legendary Derry jazz musician Gay McIntyre, who was an ‘exceptional and inspiring talent’

The funeral of a Derry jazz legend, who enthralled generations of fans during his 70+ year career, will take place today.

Gay McIntyre, who was 88 and considered one of the greatest jazz musicians Ireland has ever produced, died at his home in Derry on Wednesday.

The alto saxophonist and clarinetist has played with some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, including Acker Bilk, Louis Stewart and Nat King Cole.

Born in Ballybofey in County Donegal, Gay’s family later moved to Derry where he started playing music as a teenager.

His introduction to jazz came from his father, Willie, who played with his band in the Corinthian Ballroom during World War II.

He got his break when he joined UTV’s Teatime With Tommy, which was hosted by pianist Tommy James.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Mr McIntyre’s musical talents ‘were synonymous with our town and the thousands of performances he gave over the years will long be remembered by locals’.

Graham Warke, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane Borough Council, said Mr McIntyre was a “legendary musician”.

“I was deeply saddened today to learn that we have lost one of our city’s greatest talents,” he said.

“Gay was an exceptional and inspiring talent”.

Irish musician Phil Coulter described the 88-year-old as “a virtuoso musician, a jazz icon and my friend for 60 years. May his sweet soul rest in peace”.

The Requiem Mass will take place in St. Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry.

Comments are closed.