'Gay McIntyre's music was his gift to the people of Derry' - Mayor
27 October 2021
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, today expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family of legenderry local musician Gay McIntyre, who has died at the age of 88.
The sad news came just weeks after Council agreed a number of new initiatives to recognize and honour the acclaimed jazz musician's contribution to music, and in particular the city's famous Jazz Festival. Members of Council's Business and Culture Committee approved the plans at their October meeting when they received an update on the success of this year's festival and the plans for 2022.
Alderman Warke met with Gay and his family just weeks ago at his home to confirm the news, and today said that Gay was an inspiration to a younger generation of musicians.
"Gay was an immense talent who played with some of the greatest names in jazz including Nat King Cole and Acker Bilk. He loved to share his stories and his talent, and I think it was that sheer passion for the music itself, not the fame associated with it, which made him such a likeable and relatable person. He was a legend in his own right, and we are so lucky to have such a long association with him through the City of Derry Jazz Festival over the decades. He shared his talents all over the world, but he loved his home here in Derry and sharing his music with local people most of all.
"At a time when jazz wasn't widely accessible Gay brought the music to new audiences and he will now doubt continue to inspire new generations. I am delighted that plans are already in place to honour Gay at next year's festival, which he has been an integral part of for so many years. I had the real pleasure of meeting Gay at his home with his family recently, and I want to extend my deepest condolences today to all who knew and loved him. His memory will live on in the music – it was his gift to the people of Derry."
Gay McIntyre was an exceptional sax and clarinet player, who entertained audiences across the world for over 70 years, playing with some of the greatest talents in the industry. Over the years he had a long affiliation with the City of Derry Jazz Festival, always making time to play to his beloved Derry audiences.
During the 2022 Jazz Festival, the outdoor stage in Guildhall Square will be named the Gay McIntyre Stage and the opening event of the 2022 festival on Thursday April 28th will be known as the Gay McIntyre and Local Legends of Jazz.
The Cross Community School Woodwind and Brass Master Classes hosted by the Heavy Beat Brass Band in previous years, will now be known as 'The Gay McIntyre Woodwind and Brass Master Class Series' focusing on saxophone skills and skills on other woodwind and brass instruments.