Situated in Soho, it first opened its doors in 1959 in London’s west end, inspired by trips to America, listening to the sounds of Charlie Parker Quintet with Miles Davis and the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Ronnie Scott and Pete King began searching for a venue to open his own Jazz club.
Gerard street in SOHO was the beginning of an incredible journey for Ronnie Scott, from the early days when British jazz musicians graced the stage, then when a deal was struck with the Musicians’ Union and the American Federation of Musicians. Some of Americas top Jazz musicians paved the way for a new and bigger ‘Ronnie Scotts’ at 47 Frith Street.
In 1968 they extended the Frith Street premises by acquiring the building next door, they added an upstairs room where pop type acts could be showcased and also the addition of a downstairs bar. The new enlarged club opened in October 1968
The club has also been the location for many music videos, feature films, T.V. shows and national radio programmes. And in recognition, in 1981, Scott received the OBE for ‘services to jazz’.
His untimely death in December 23rd 1996. at the age of 69 was a great loss to the world of Jazz and to his friend and business partner Pete King. In June 2005 Pete sold the club to theatre impresario Sally Greene.
GRAMMY winner Kurt Elling is an inspiration to all upcoming jazz singers, winning numerous awards, he won the DownBeat Critics Poll for fourteen consecutive years and was named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association on eight occasions. Grammy nominated over a dozen times, Elling has also been honoured with international jazz awards, including the prestigious Edison Jazz Oeuvreprijs (Lifetime Achievement Award).
Listening to him perform live in one of the most iconic jazz venues was both musically and lyrically mesmerizing. Performing songs from The ‘Beautiful Day’ he captured the imagination of the audience with his unique interpretation of festive songs, my favorite being ‘Same Old Lang Syne’ about bumping into his old lover, a chance meeting some can relate to if they have ever had a brief encounter with an x.
An enjoyable evening full of great music and the ambiance of the club will be firmly in my “A night to remember”.