In Aid of Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation
by AJ Dehany | London Jazz News | November 2, 2019
Helen attended “A Night At Ronnie Scotts: 60th Anniversary Gala” at the Royal Albert Hall on October 30, 2019 in London, England. For this one night only, the Royal Albert Hall resembled the world’s most famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s. The show featured cabaret tables in the centre of the room and some of the world’s greatest jazz artists up on the stage, with appearances by Kurt Elling, Courtney Pine, Madeline Bell, Imelda May sings the Blues, Nigel Kennedy plays Jimi Hendrix, Guy Barker, Liane Carroll, Ian Shaw, Natalie Williams, Judi Jackson, and guests Van Morrison and Pee Wee Ellis.
On 30 October 1959, in that year of jazz masterpieces, British tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott contributed his own with the opening of his eponymous jazz club. It was a revolutionary import into London of the style and feel of the New York City jazz clubs that had cradled bebop, and was conceived to host working jam sessions as much as concerts. Sixty years on, there’s a blue plaque outside 39 Gerrard Street, and the club is still going strong on Frith Street where it moved in 1965. A beloved institution of iconic status, to many in the capital it is simply synonymous with jazz.
Its sixtieth birthday was too big a thing for the club to contain, and so another iconic venue, the Royal Albert Hall, hosted a four-hour birthday party concert gala spectacular with the 5000 tickets selling out within an hour. The whole central section of the hall mimicked at scale the format of the club, with thirty-six ten-person tables atmospherically decked out with red lamps and green bottles. On stage the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars house band quintet led by Pete Long, and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, accompanied a terrifying cast of talents, each of whom brought their own personal connection to the club.
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