Ronnie Scott’s is one of the world’s premier jazz clubs and one of London’s most famous night-spots. The brief was to write a PR piece for placement in a London entertainment magazine.
Visitors who come to London this summer hoping to sample the city’s spectacular menu of arts and culture will more than likely find themselves queuing up for the usual bill of fare. But sometimes the big galleries and theatres can leave you feeling a little flat. Take the tour, take a picture, tick the box. But art is a living, breathing thing, and it lives where the people are. So where should you go for a taste of the real thing? Try an evening at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho and treat yourself to a session of some of the finest jazz in the world.
This iconic club has been a Mecca for jazz musicians and fans for almost half a century. The roll call of past performers reads like a “who’s who” of jazz – Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzie Gillespie, Curtis Mayfield, Chet Baker, the list goes on. Ronnie Scott’s has a tradition that is almost holy in the world of jazz – as soon as you step in off the street you know you’re in a special place. It’s dark, it’s moody, it’s broody, and it’s got a style all of its own. It’s like nowhere else in the city.
What makes Ronnie Scott’s unique is the performance. Many of the musicians who come here are more used to playing in front of tens of thousands of fans. Yet they fly 3,000 miles to step onto the stage at Ronnie’s and play in front of 250 people. The intimate atmosphere allows artists to connect with their audience in a way that few other venues can. Watch Van Morrison jamming with Jeff Beck and you feel like these guys are playing just for you.
The club changed owners recently but Scott’s original partner Pete King remains lifetime president, helping to ensure that the biggest names in jazz continue to make the trip over to play here. Under the direction of sax legend Leo Green, the club also celebrates the future of the art. In the recent jazz awards, Ronnie Scott’s recognised the wealth of new talent by naming Jamie Cullum best UK male singer while Amy Winehouse picked up the award for best UK jazz crossover album.
In a world dominated by manufactured experiences, reality TV shows and virtual lifestyles, Ronnie Scott’s offers a very rare and precious thing – a piece of real, live art. You can see and hear the music being created before your eyes. And like all good jazz, it’s ephemeral, it’s there and you can almost touch it, then it’s gone, and sometimes you’re not even sure what you just heard. Did they really do that?
If you’re a jazz lover then a night at Ronnie Scott’s promises an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And if you’re not a jazz lover then it might just change your life. And all for less than the price of a ticket to 90 minutes of football.
Fashions change and venues come and go but Ronnie Scott’s has a quality that never ages. It’s very cool and very sexy, and that’s a combination that will never go out of style.