'He can play. He's as good a saxophone player as I've played with.'
Sonny Stitt on Ronnie Scott, Melody Maker 1964
'30 years in a jazz club? It's like a life sentence!'
So mused Ronnie Scott on a BBC documentary in 1989, some three decades after his eponymously named club had opened in London's Soho. Scott and partner Pete King were clearly surprised to have made it that far, yet so successfully had they navigated a series of adversities, prejudice, fiscal disasters and cultural ignorance that by the time Scott made the above quip 'Ronnie's' had become an international jazz landmark.
Quite what Scott would have made of a 60th anniversary can only be guessed at ('You've made a happy man very old', perhaps?). But, amazingly, that double-thirtieth looms this autumn, a titanic achievement that will doubtless be marked well by a mainstream press fast forgetting that Ronnie Scott – club proprietor – was first and foremost Ronnie Scott world-class tenor saxophonist.
It's this Ronnie that tonight's gig commemorates, uniting three former members of Scott's early 1990s sextet – Lockett, Pearce and Cleyndert – with another ex-Ronnie alumni, Spike Wells, who played in the 1970 Scott band. Add in the Blue Note-ish piano of Rob Barron and you have a line-up perfect for this salute.
To further describe the music they play would be a faux pas: suffice it to say that Scott's love of helter skelter bop, Latin grooves and a well-placed ballad will all be celebrated, as will his wit, the central thread with which he tied together every performance.
< Back to festival
Saturday September 28, 7:00pm
- > Dick Pearce - Trumpet
- > Mornington Lockett - Tenor Saxophone
- > Rob Barron - Piano
- > Andrew Cleyndert - Double Bass
- > Spike Wells - Drums