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Ronnie Scott's and performers

nakedlunch

Member
Messages
95
Hi all,

Just a quick question. Something which has me a little confused. I occasionally go to Ronnie Scott's (my wife has bought me membership 2 years running now!) and think that the look of the venue is much better since it has been done up. They also have great acts from time to time. However, over the last 2 years I cannot remember ever seeing the likes of Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins, and Peter King etc being billed. This is a great shame as these chaps played at the club pretty much from the start (Peter played the opening night in 1959) and the club was started to showcase British Jazz. I have asked the management by email but they did not really reply back addressing the issue.
Now, I know that Ronnie Scott's has for many a year become a tourist attraction and that they have to appeal to a wider audience, especially with Soho rates to pay. However, is it not a joke that someone like "The Average White Band" or Georgie Fame can be booked for 7 days in a row whereas some of our British greats appear not even to get a look in? Surely they could at least book British greats to play on the Monday - Wednesday slots to bring in true jazz fans on otherwise quieter nights, and then keep the broader based "popular" acts to play Thur - Sat?
I know that you can see great British acts at 606, Bull's Head and indeed up and down the country. However, surely it would be only fitting to be able to see them play at what is generally regarded, and indeed marketed, as one of the World's best venues? Or perhaps it is the fact that they play at "lesser" venues that prevents Ronnie Scott's from booking these acts?
Anyway, what are your thoughts? Why do you think such acts never seem to play there? It really would annoy me if the next time we see such an act billed at Ronnie's is when it is one of the artist’s memorial gig.
 
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Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I don't know anything about Ronnie Scott's other than they do host performers. And the only reason I know that is because I have a video of Jeff Beck performing at Ronnie Scott's.

Of course this is guitar and not saxophone. But I really enjoyed Beck's performance, and the performance of his entire band in that setting. They all played great, bass, drums, and keyboard too. Just great music all around.

I actually borrowed the video from a friend and I enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy and I watch quite often now.

I think it would be great if they did the same thing featuring a sax player.
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
Personally I loved Ronnie's before the change of management, it had a very cool ambience, and sitting listening to jazz of all styles into the small hours was faintly rebellious and exciting. Last time I went (and I appreciate it may have changed) there were two sittings, so we got turfed out before the artists' second sets, which was a bit annoying. Pay twice for one gig? Hello!?

It's a lot smarter looking now, and possibly slicker in the way it runs, but the charm's gone a bit.
I shouldn't say that really, my mate plays in the house Big Band, as well as for Stan Tracey!

It still is Britain's premier jazz nightclub, but as you say, others are available. At the moment the music industry seems to have scaled back a bit in general, so to keep afloat, musicians are taking 'lesser' gigs than they used to (this feeds from the high-profile world-class stars all the way down the chain, believe me!) so perhaps that has a bearing on this.

Minor point, aren't at least some of the Average White Band from Scotland, and therefore British!?
(A quick Googlesearch suggests Georgie Fame is originally from Lancashire...?!)

Nick
 

nakedlunch

Member
Messages
95
Personally I loved Ronnie's before the change of management, it had a very cool ambience, and sitting listening to jazz of all styles into the small hours was faintly rebellious and exciting. Last time I went (and I appreciate it may have changed) there were two sittings, so we got turfed out before the artists' second sets, which was a bit annoying. Pay twice for one gig? Hello!?

It's a lot smarter looking now, and possibly slicker in the way it runs, but the charm's gone a bit.
I shouldn't say that really, my mate plays in the house Big Band, as well as for Stan Tracey!

It still is Britain's premier jazz nightclub, but as you say, others are available. At the moment the music industry seems to have scaled back a bit in general, so to keep afloat, musicians are taking 'lesser' gigs than they used to (this feeds from the high-profile world-class stars all the way down the chain, believe me!) so perhaps that has a bearing on this.

Minor point, aren't at least some of the Average White Band from Scotland, and therefore British!?
(A quick Googlesearch suggests Georgie Fame is originally from Lancashire...?!)

Nick

Hi Nick,

Yeah, my problem is not really about the nationality of who plays there now. It is more about which British acts they leave out. Georgie Fame and Average White Band were only mentioned because they are two I could quote from the top of my head. I am sure that both are very good and deserved of playing at Ronnies, but my point is that they play there all too often (perhaps 4 times a year and for 3 - 7 days at a time) whereas others (and I am talking Britain’s top class Jazz acts, young and old) have not played there for a few years, or more. Surely there is room for both and surely Britain's premier Jazz club should at least sometimes put on the best of Jazz Britain has to offer - not just well known acts that appeal to the wider public? Another example, Kyle Eastwood has played there a lot over the past couple of years. I have never heard him play and I am sure he may be good (great, brilliant, poor - I have no idea) but I would not mind betting that if his dad was not a famous actor and director, Kyle would not be playing there so often! See, it smacks of appealing to the avarage punter a bit too often. Having said that, they do have some great acts coming up - Soweto Kinch, McCoy Tyner, and Acoustic Ladyland where ther not long ago.

Talking about appealing to novelty acts and the celebrity culture, I have just checked out their website and see that Mitch Winehouse (Amy Winehouse's dad) is playing there in a few weeks. I mean, really! Enough said!

BTW, agree with point about 2 sittings, and also agree that the place had a better atmosphere years ago. It is the decor improvement which I think is better now.
 
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