Monday 20 May 2019

Legendary jazz musician, Carl Neilsen, dies

CARL NEILSEN, Culleenduff, Strandhill, who died on Thursday last, was one of County Sligo's legendary musicians, having played for more than 50 years with the renowned Jazz Ladds.

The man who came to Tubbercurry from his native Copenhagen in 1955 to take up a job as a toolmaker with the Basta factory carved for himself an indelible niche in Sligo folklore, both as a masterful musician and one of nature's true gentlemen.

It was during his days in Basta that Carl met up with fellow musicians and jazz enthusiasts, Padraic Potter, Mickey Brennan, Peader and Pearse Leonard, leading to the formation of the Cliffonaires Showband, which toured the country for several years, before dispersing to become the Jazz Ladds, a musical institution which, fifty years later, remains an inconic part of the local social scene. Over the years, musicians such as Roddy Gillen, Robert Burnsides, John Healy, Denis Phelan and Eddie McFarlane have embellished the Ladds unique sound, but it was the multi-talented Carl Neilsen who somehow best epitomised the character and enduring popularity of the outfit.

Only last year, hundreds of friends and fans gathered in the Harp Tavern, where the Jazz Ladds enjoyed a 15 year Sunday morning residency, to throw a surprise 80th birthday party for the Great Dane. They gathered at the same venue last night, Tuesday, to bid him a fitting musical farewell, following a service of celebration at Feehily's Funeral Home.

Carl is survived by his wife, Sonja, and sons, Michael, a renwowned jazz guitarist in his own right, and Peter; Michael's partner, Marta; grandchildren, Oskar and Harriet; and brother, Kurt.