Thursday, 28 April 2011

Guest blog: Quintessence at Ronnie Scott's

Whenever I say the words "jazz club" to friends, I can see them mentally conjuring up images of a dimly lit, smoky nightclub with solemn music types in black polo-neck sweaters listening intently to the wildest free jazz.

Put any such thoughts firmly in the past where they belong - times have changed and so has Ronnie Scott's in the heart of London's Soho. From its early days as simply a place where British jazz musicians could jam to the thriving club it is for today's audience, Ronnie's has lost nothing of the quintessence of a serious jazz venue.

Musicians like Jamie Cullum have done a lot to broaden the appeal of jazz with their own very modern interpretations of jazz standards. Today's jazz scene isn't just "older fat blokes" any more, despite what Andrew Marr might think! Today Ronnie Scott's gives a platform to a huge range of music - adding R&B, soul and funk into the core jazz mix.

If you've never been, here's just three reasons why you should -

1 Music - every musician I've met puts Ronnie Scott's at the top of their list of venues they want to play, or go back to. And it's easy to see why they have a reputation that attracts a stellar list of artists - the food service is arranged so it doesn't disrupt the sets and you're gently reminded that if you want to take calls on your mobile or chat with your friends, while the musicians are on the stage isn't the time to do it. At this venue the music comes first.

2 Atmosphere - with just 220 seats no matter where you sit, you're up close to the music and the musicians. It even gives Sunday lunch that intimate, red table-lamp jazz vibe - and you never know if a surprise guest musician might turn up and play.

3 People - starting with the greeting at the front desk, through to being seated and the waiter service throughout, these guys are welcoming, discreet and attentive. From what I've seen, it's one of the very few places a single lady of a certain age who just wants to enjoy music can feel not only welcome but also looked after.

As well as the main room there's also an upstairs bar with comfy sofas, live music events most nights and, going back to the club's earliest days, jam sessions on Wednesdays.

It's such a popular venue that booking is essential, but whether you want to have a drink at the bar or enjoy some food with your music, if you're ever in London why not treat yourself - and your ears? Stop by, say hello, and discover why this iconic venue has been loved by musicians and music-lovers alike for over 50 years.

Sandra Nicholls-Marcy
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Special thanks to my first guest blogger Sandra for an excellent review (first published April 4th 2011). Keep tuned for more!

Also, you may want to read my previous blog on Ronnie's and check out their website for the latest. 
Tell them we sent you!

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