Modest; A Jazz Story

By Sanchia Dsouza

The Old Place ScottsKirkext1 797-3A

Thick clouds of smoke rising up to a darkened ceiling, plush red seats and dim lighting are often what you would generally assume of a jazz club. Perhaps, even a sea of heads raising their glasses in cheer while passionate tunes echo throughout the room.

Think New York or New Orleans, in the Roaring 20s – a time period that birthed jazz; a revolution had begun. The influence of jazz crossed over to the worlds of fashion, poetry and women, taking them by storm. As opposed to this, jazz was only in its infancy as a movement in the UK.

It wasn’t until the 50s, a time when the streets of the Soho district of London were populated by drugs, sex and the occasional police raids that maverick Ronnie Scott and his associate Pete King, opened the doors to a modest little jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in a basement of Gerrard Street – a humble beginning and a new world of possibilities for existing jazz musicians in the country. The club later changed locations and established a world-wide reputation, attracting big names in the jazz music industry like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stan Tracey and others.

With an intimate audience for a crowd, second-hand furniture and discreet lighting, the evolution of jazz led it to grow from an underground club to an internationally reputed venue that it is today. Now, as part of their 60th birthday celebration, this jazz centre will offer its visitors a 1959 style experience coupled up with a trip down memory lane featuring past performances, tales of past visitors and tales of a very promiscuous Soho.

For all you historically nostalgic folks and jazz aficionados, new and old alike, this is a rare opportunity to experience the era of high calibre in the jazz realm and what it was like back in the day. Ronnie Scott’s is set to launch a two-week pop up club at the location The Old Place at 52 Dean Street, just around the corner of Frith Street, their current location, starting from Monday 19 August to Saturday 31 August. The Old Place will serve as a tribute to jazz icons Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzie Gillespie, Stan Tracey and Wes Montgomery. The celebration will feature the house band Ronnie Scott’s All Stars and other VIP guests playing tunes, evoking a sense of nostalgic feelings and teleporting you back to 1959 while enjoying a drink or two amongst jazz royalty.

The shows at The Old Place will be hosted at two houses each night and will run for the duration of an hour, with doors opening at 6:30pm and the first show beginning at 7:30pm, and the second house opening at 9:00pm. Tickets are priced at £21.36 (£19.59 for membership holders) and can be purchased on their official website.


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