Jack Coen

Jack Coen

I’m surprised not to have seen an announcement of it here, but yesterday morning (Sunday April 8) I learned via Paul Keating that Jack Coen died. Flute and whistle player, emigrated from East Galway to New York in 1949. 87 years old. Recorded with his brother Monsignor Charlie Coen and with Seamus Connolly and Martin Mulhaire. Interviewed by Paula Carroll in conjunction with The Kitchen Sessions on Clare FM. Links below.

https://thesession.org/recordings/display/371
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/386
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1571
http://ragandbone.ie/

Re: Jack Coen

Ah, they’re dropping like flies! Branch Line remains one of my favorite recordings, bar none.

A life well spent making music….

Posted .

Re: Jack Coen

I downloaded that Kitchen Session podcast to my iPod in 2009 and only got round to listening to it on Friday. What an amazing character. I loved his humour and his story telling.

Re: Jack Coen

I’m sorry to hear that. I never met the man, but I think that he was one of a few valuable links to the past. At least, unlike some of the recent departures, he had a long life. And it is fortunate for us that his music was recorded and that he achieved the renown he deserved.

A flute playing friend of mine told me a story about meeting Jack Coen: She was new to traditional music, having previously learned classical flute to a high standard, and turned up at a session somewhere in the Eastern US, where Jack was playing. Armed with silver flute and music stand, she launched into a set of tunes, read straight off the page (which she could do in her sleep). Unimpressed, Jack Coen’s only comment was, "You’re playin’ too fasht!". Despite his verbal economy, he obviously managed to get a more complex message across as, by the time I knew her (only a couple of years later), she was a very competent traditional (wooden) flute player.

Re: Jack Coen

Sad news, "The Branch Line" recording is an old favourite of ours too… Their music has reached and inspired many, including us… Would that had been live, in person.

That’s one recording we’ve been wanting to reacquaint ourselves with. I believe I gave our copy to some budding musicians…

Re: Jack Coen

Jack was 86 when he died by the way, Here is an obituary that was posted elsewhere:
COEN-John "Jack", on April 7, 2012 at the age of 86.
Native of Woodford, Co. Galway, Ireland. Retired railroad worker and accomplished flute player.
Jack was a 1991 Recipient of the NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
Beloved husband of Julia (nee Curry). Loving father of Mary (Michael) Collins, Bernadette (Rick) Hess, Kathleen (Nick) Tamburri, Helen (Frank) Graziosa, James & Shaun (Rose). Cherished grandfather of Tara, Kevin, Conor, Rory, Richard, Alana, Patrick, Diana, Anthony, Nicholas, John, Robert, Casey Rose, Jack, Daniel & Jennifer. Dear brother of May (Sr. Concepta), Fr. Michael, Annie O’Malley, Msgr. Charles, Betty (Sr. Patrice), Margaret King & Anthony. He is predeceased by his brother Patrick.
Visiting hours will be held at DAVID J. HODDER & SON FH, 899 McLean Ave., Yonkers on Tues. from 7-9P.M. & Wed, from 2-4 & 7-9P.M. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thurs. 11:45A.M. at St. Barnabas Church. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Heart Association would be appreciated.

For notes and cards here is the family home address:

Julia Coen and Family
353 E 235th St
Bronx, NY 10470-2101

Re: Jack Coen

Jack was at Augusta when I was there once. I remember the wonderful playing and the very direct personality. Asked about singing in a session he said something like this:

There’s nothing wrong with a well sung song from time to time. The problem is when someone who can’t sing a song wants to sing, and then to sing another and another. There is nothing to do but tell him that it is fine to have a well sung song, but no one wants to hear him sing. And that this is a music session…

Seems to me that is good advice, and not just about singers…

Rest well Jack.