Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club - finest in jazz in the heart of Soho

Soho has always been the more interesting part of London. Compared to the tourist trodden path along Westminster, Whitehall and even Piccadilly Circus, Soho is way grittier. While we were walking along Old Compton Street, there were the occasional tourists gawking at the sex shops displays with some even posing with the more raunchy posters much to the amusement of local patrons. After missing the live performance over at Soho Pizzeria, we headed to Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club along Frith Street the very next day for some good old jazz numbers. 


"Presenting the finest in jazz since 1959" reads Ronnie Scott's tagline. After the jazz showcase at the Barbican sometime end of last year which left us rather disappointed and somewhat bewildered, we were a bit skeptical about the 'finest in jazz'. Though we have heard about Ronnie Scott quite some time back, we never get around getting the tickets for it.

The club was quite packed when we reached fifteen minutes prior to the lunchtime performance. Although we could very well see the layout of the main sitting area online when purchasing tickets, the place did look much smaller than expected. With the number of dining tables and rows of benches squeezed into the limited floor area, a number of customers ended up having their back facing the performing stage. Presumably those affected would turn their chairs around, their lunches would nevertheless be quite uncomfortable.

Jeff Hooper, the lead singer of the day, was a natural entertainer and boy, did he entertain. "I once sang a duet with Tony Bennett, well, he was singing on the radio and I, in the bathroom," he quipped before belting out some familiar covers by Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr. and Cole Porter among others in the silky tenor voice of his much to delight of the appreciative audience. There is a certain charm to Welsh singers, you just have to hand it to them.

The accompanying act by trumpeter Steve Waterman, who flew in from South Africa just the night before, was another classic act with his smooth delivery. He came straight onto the set and performed straight without even warming up - I imagined he was buzzing through his mouthpiece the entire time he was waiting outside the door. Then again, as I have always been more of a fan of vocals, I was somewhat relieved when Jeff returned to the stage with his hilarious impressions of jazz greats.

There may be a number of jazz clubs in Soho but Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club is undoubtedly the jazz club in central London by all accounts. Highly recommended but consider getting your meal somewhere else before heading there - the club is more known for its jazz than its food, which was rather pricey, not to mention that the experience would be all the better without you having to stuff a burger through your mouth in the middle of a performance.

47 Frith Street, Soho
London W1D 4HT
Tel: 020 7439 0747

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Lucie said...

Oooooooh I love jazz. Thx!

C K said...

You're welcome! Do check out who's playing for the night before getting tickets though. Enjoy!

Melissa said...

I love Jazz as well. I just finished reading Nina Simone's autobiography and she mentioned that she played at this club! Although she defines herself as a folk artist I will have to check it out because the high priestess graced the stage at one point in time. Thanks for the review, love the blog and have recommended it to many people who are coming to London.