John Wadham – Jazz legend honoured

John Wadham

AS the December cold bit hard last Thursday night, upstairs in the Mecca of Dublin jazz, JJ Smyths on Aungier Street, friends of the late John Wadham gathered to unveil a bust of the greatest-ever Irish jazz drummer

Friends of ‘The Wad’, including Hugh Buckley, Richie Buckley, Rock Fox (Chas Meredith), Keith Donald, Jim Doherty, Ronan and Conor Guilfoyle, Eamon Carr of the Evening Herald and once of Horslips, and Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning shared stories about the drummer, who died on September 22, 2003.

The impressive bronze bust, made by Wadham’s friend Michael Charles Keane, has been purchased by JJ Smyths and is to be given pride of place at the centre of the venue.

“I worked on the door here and many times helped him with his gear up the stairs. He was a great man and it was a real pleasure to play my part in this tribute to John,” Mr Keane said.

Many of those present remarked on how well the bust had captured Wadham’s likeness. Organiser and Master of Ceremonies for the night Hugh Buckley said: “John was not only an amazing drummer but such a great character in Irish music, and his passing represented a massive loss to all who played with him and listened to him play.”

Wadham’s closest friend Rock Fox (Chas Meredith) spoke movingly about his first encounter with him. “We (the Rock Fox Band) were playing a gig at Bective in Donnybrook and I was approached by this beautiful, not un-buxom, lady. She said her 16-year-old son was a drummer and asked if he could sit in. So he did, and within 16 bars, the face of percussion in Ireland changed forever. What set John apart from other drummers was that he was a musician and instinctively knew the way songs should be played, and that is a rare enough quality. We miss him terribly.”

Courtesy of: Daniel McConnell

Back to Gallery