Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club neon sign
|Address||47 Frith Street|
|Location||Soho, London, United Kingdom|
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club is a prominent jazz club which has operated in London since 1959.
The club opened on 30 October 1959 in a basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London's Soho district. It was set up and managed by musicians Ronnie Scott and Pete King. In 1965 it moved to a larger venue nearby at 47 Frith Street. The original venue continued in operation as the "Old Place" until the lease ran out in 1967, and was used for performances by the up-and-coming generation of musicians.
Zoot Sims was the club's first transatlantic visitor in 1962, and was succeeded by many others (often saxophonists whom Scott and King, tenor saxophonists themselves, admired, such as Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt) in the years that followed. Many UK jazz musicians were also regularly featured, including Tubby Hayes and Dick Morrissey who would both drop in for jam sessions with the visiting stars. In the mid-1960s, Ernest Ranglin was the house guitarist. The club's house pianist until 1967 was Stan Tracey. For nearly 30 years it was home of a Christmas residency to George Melly and John Chilton's Feetwarmers. In 1978, the club established the label Ronnie Scott's Jazz House, which issued both live performances from the club and new recordings.
Scott regularly acted as the club's Master of Ceremonies, and was (in)famous for his repertoire of jokes, asides and one-liners. After Scott's death in 1996, King continued to run the club for a further nine years, before selling the club to theatre impresario Sally Greene and philanthropist Michael Watt in June 2005. Managing Director Simon Cooke joined in April 2008.
In 2009 Ronnie Scott's was named by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of 12 venues that had made the most important contributions to jazz music in the United Kingdom, and finished third in the voting for the initial award.
Many prestigious artists have played there, including Earl "Fatha" Hines, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Blossom Dearie, Dianne Reeves, Stacey Kent, Katie Melua, Jamie Cullum, Bobby Broom, Wynton Marsalis, Madeleine Peyroux, Prince, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, George Benson and Cassandra Wilson.
Many of the visiting musicians appearing at Ronnie Scott's were soloists touring without their own rhythm section, or were touring as members of larger bands and they often used the house band to accompany them. On occasions, the house musicians coincided with the members of the various bands that Ronnie Scott led at one time or another. The dates of a particular house musician sometimes overlap with that of others owing to the nature of a musician's working schedule. Many of them were already, or would soon become, leading figures on the British jazz scene.
Since 2006 the Ronnie Scott's Allstars have been some of the greatest talents on the UK scene, including regular performers James Pearson Sam Burgess and Alex Garnett.
Other regular performers since 2006 include:
In 1978, the club established its own record label, Ronnie Scott's Jazz House. The first release was an album by Scott's quintet. Over the next 20 years, the label gained in prominence, issuing both historic live club performances and new recordings.