Gay McIntyre had a career that spanned 70 years
Tributes have been paid to the Donegal-born jazz musician Gay McIntyre who has died at the age of 88.
Born in Stranorlar, he grew up in Derry and went on to play with legendary jazz musicians including Nat King Cole and Acker Bilk in a career that spanned 70 years.
He started playing saxophone after his family moved to Derry. He was still a regular performer in recent years and had a weekly gig at the jazz venue Bennigan’s in Derry where he played with younger generations of musicians.
He passed away at his home in Derry on Wednesday.
His passing came just weeks after Derry’s council agreed a number of initiatives to recognise and honour the acclaimed jazz musician's contribution to music, and in particular the city's famous jazz festival.
Foyle MP Colum Eastwood said the news of his passing "will be shared across Derry and on both sides of the border".
"His musical talents were synonymous with our city and the thousands of performances he gave over the years will live long in the memory of local people.”
The mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said that Gay was an inspiration to a younger generation of musicians.
“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 said.
“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.”
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