Riley’s primary focus as a music creator is improvisation, the element of Jazz that brings him the most joy. Riley’s entire life and career is driven by the desire to both improvise and hear other people improvise, it is the highest level of creativity and artistic expression.
UK-based Irishman Riley Stone-Lonergan started working as a professional musician in Ireland at the age of 16. Riley soon moved to the UK to study at Leeds College of Music. In 2011, he graduated with 1st Class Honours and was the recipient of a number of awards including the Dave Cooper Memorial Prize for Jazz Saxophone, John Scheerer Prize for Woodwind and David Hoult Prize for Outstanding Performance.
Selected as a Yamaha Jazz Scholar in 2011, Riley’s quartet was featured in Jazzwise Magazine as well as performing at the 606 Club in London. Shortly after, Riley moved to London and began to work with various London groups. He was able to do a tour of Germany, a televised performance with NYJO at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms (including special guest Tim Garland) and was nominated for the Rising Star Award at the London Music Awards 2015.
In recent years, Riley has made three extended trips to New York City. Here, he studied with Seamus Blake, Chris Cheek, Rich Perry and Joel Frahm and recorded his original material at Tedesco Studios, as well as performing in Washington DC.
In the last few years Riley has been a part of three co-lead projects who have both self-released an album and toured extensively:
Family Band is a chordless trumpet and tenor quartet brought together by a love for late 60’s free Jazz in the vein of Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Don Cherry and John Coltrane, but their music has evolved into something a lot more eclectic, with spoken word and political themes woven in. They self-released Board of Origin in 2018 and embarked on a month long UK tour. In 2019 they were chosen to represent the UK at 12 Points Festival, where they performed in at Bimhuis in Amsterdam. They recorded a new album in 2019 which will be released soon.
Tarel/Lonergan Quartet is a UK/French collaborative project co lead with French pianist Fabrice Tarel. The group plays modern original music written by the two leaders. They have toured France on 3 seperate occasions and released an album in 2019 called Blurred Future.
QOW Trio features bassist Eddie Myer and UK Jazz legend Spike Wells (Tubby Hayes, Bobby Wellins) in a chordless saxophone trio. What started as a tribute to Sonny Rollins soon became it’s own free blowing but hard swinging beast. The group have recorded their self titled debut and will be releasing it in Febuary 2021.
Riley also leads his own quartet and gigs regularly in London, throughout the UK and Europe. He performed.as a featured soloist at Bergamo Jazz Festival in Italy 12 Points Festival in Amsterdam and has toured throughout Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and Ischia, an island off the coast of Italy, as well as all the most prestigious festivals in the UK including Manchester Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festival and London Jazz Festival. In March 2019 Riley did a week long tour of France under his name with French pianist Fabrice Tarel. This was such a success that they have made this a regular occurance.
Jon Newey, Jazzwise Editor
“The latest Leeds College of Music young lion now baring his teeth is the exquisitely named saxophonist Riley Stone-Lonergan, a Coltrane and Liebman-inspired hotshot who’s developing a sinewy soul-splattered sound of his own”
Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here
“…the improbably named Riley Stone-Lonergan…blew great tenor. Rollins, Coltrane, Brecker – he’d learned from them all and with a tone that could be lyrical or biting, tender or violent – a name to remember (as if one could forget!)”
Jack Massarik, Jazzwise (Review of the Proms 2012)
“…when the band’s latest crop of soloists was finally let off the leash, the results were spectacular. Riley Stone-Lonergan, a brilliant young Irish tenorist snapped up by NYJO after winning one of last year’s Yamaha Jazz Scholar Awards, was the evening’s outstanding player.”
“…his sincerity, and his affection for the material, impress as much as his comprehensive technique.”