- Ronnie Scott
Life and career
Born Ronald Schatt in
Aldgate, East London, Scott began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of sixteen. he toured with Johnny Claes, the trumpeter, from 1944 to 1945, and with Ted Heath in 1946, as well as working with Ambrose, Cab Kaye, and Tito Burns. He was involved in the short-lived musicians' co-operative Club Elevenband and club (1948–1950), with Johnny Dankworth and others, and was a member of the generation of British musicians who worked on the Cunard liner "Queen Mary" (intermittently 1946–c. 1950) in order to visit New Yorkand hear the new music directly. Scott was among the earliest British musicians to be influenced in his playing style by Charlie Parkerand other bebopmusicians.
In 1952 Scott joined
Jack Parnell's orchestra, then led his own nine-piece group and quintet featuring among others, Pete King, with whom he would later open his jazz club, Victor Feldman, Hank Shawand Phil Seamenfrom 1953 to 1956. He co-led The Jazz Courierswith Tubby Hayesfrom 1957 to 1959, and was leader of a quartet including Stan Tracey(1960–1967).
During this period he also did occasional session work; his best-known work here is the solo on
The Beatles' " Lady Madonna". From 1967–69, Scott was a member of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Bandwhich toured Europe extensively and which also featured fellow tenor players Johnny Griffinand Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, at the same time running his own octetincluding John Surmanand Kenny Wheeler(1968–1969), and a trio with Mike Carr on keyboards and Bobby Gien on drums (1971–1975). He then went on to lead various groups, most of which included John Critchinsonon keyboards and Martin Drewon drums.
Ronnie Scott's playing was much admired on both sides of the Atlantic.
Charles Mingussaid of him in 1961: "Of the white boys, Ronnie Scott gets closer to the negro blues feeling, the way Zoot Sims does." ["Ronnie Scott", Brian Priestley, in Carr "et al."] Despite his central position in the British jazz scene, Scott recorded infrequently during the last few decades of his career. He suffered periods of depression and, while recovering slowly from surgery for tooth implants, died accidentally from a mixture of brandy and temazepam - at the age of sixty-nine. At the subsequent inquest into his death, the coroner's verdict was "death by misadventure". [http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk/ronnie_scotts/ronniescotts/pics/history.htm] .
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
Scott is perhaps best remembered for co-founding, with former tenor sax player Pete King, the
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, which opened on October 30 1959in a basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London's Sohodistrict, with the debut of a young alto sax player named Peter King (no relation), before later moving to a larger venue nearby at 47 Frith Streetin 1965. 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 domestic musicians.
Scott regularly acted as the club's genial
Master of Ceremonies, and was (in)famous for his repertoire of jokes, asides and one-liners. A typical introduction might go: "Our next guest is one of the finest musicians in the country. In the city, he's crap".
After Scott's death, King continued to run the club for a further nine years, before selling the club to theatre impresario
Sally Greenein June 2005.
Selected band line-ups
As well as participating in name orchestras, Scott led or co-led numerous bands featuring some of Britain's most prominent jazz musicians of the day.
*Alan Dean's Beboppers - 1949 Ronnie Scott (ts),
Johnny Dankworth(as), Hank Shaw (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Pete Chilver (g), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d), Alan Dean (vocal).
*Ronnie Scott Orchestra - 1954, 1955 Ronnie Scott (ts), Derek Humble (as), Pete King (ts), Hank Shaw (tp), Ken Wray (tb),
Benny Green(bs), Victor Feldman(p), Lennie Bush(b), Phil Seamen(d).
*Ronnie Scott Quintet - 1955 Ronnie Scott (ts), Hank Shaw (tp), Victor Feldman (p), Sammy Stokes/Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).
*Ronnie Scott Big Band - 1955Ronnie Scott, Pete King, (ts),
Joe Harriott, Doug Robinson (as), Benny Green (bs), Stan Palmer, Hank Shaw, Dave Usden, Jimmy Watson, (tp) Jack Botterill, Robin Kaye, Mac Minshull, Ken Wray (tb), Norman Stenfalt (p), Eric Peter (b), Phil Seamen (d).
(On April 7th, 1957,
The Jazz Couriersco-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, debuted at the new Flamingo Club in Wardour Street, Soho. The group lasted until August 30th, 1959.)
The Jazz CouriersRonnie Scott (ts), Tubby Hayes (ts, vib), Terry Shannon (p), Phil Bates (b), Bill Eyden(d).
*Ronnie Scott Quartet (1964)Ronnie Scott (ts),
Stan Tracey(p), Malcolm Cecil(b), Jackie Dougan (d).
*Ronnie Scott Quintet (1990) Dick Pearce (tp), Ronnie Scott (ts),
John Critchinson(p), Ron Mathewson(b), Martin Drew(d).
*1948: "Boppin' at Esquire" (indigo)
*1958: "The Couriers of Jazz!" (Carlton/Fresh Sounds)
*1965: "The Night Is Scott and You're So Swingable" (Redial)
*1965: "When I Want Your Opinion, I'll Give it to You" (Jazz House)
*1969: "Live at Ronnie Scott's" (Columbia)
*1977: "Serious Gold" (Pye)
*1990: "Never Pat a Burning Dog" (Jazz House)
*1997: "If I Want Your Opinion" (Jazz House)
*1997: "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (Jazz House)
*2000: "Boppin' at Esquire" (Indigo)
*2002: "Ronnie Scott Live at the Jazz Club" (Time Music)
*Ronnie Scott with Mike Hennessey. "Some of My Best Friends are Blues" (autobiography). London:
Northway Books, 2002. ISBN 978 0955090837
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Farragocompilation of best features from Jazz At Ronnie Scott's magazine, Hampstead Press, 2008, ISBN 9780955762802, [http://ronniesjazzfarrago.co.uk/index.html]
*Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, & Brian Priestley. "Jazz: The Rough Guide". ISBN 1-85828-528-3
*Richard Cook & Brian Morton. "The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD" 6th edition. ISBN 0-14-051521-6
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:5ya9kept7q7x~T1 Ronnie Scott] — biography by Jason Ankeny for All Music Guide
* [http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk/ Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club website]
* [http://vzone.virgin.net/davidh.taylor/scott.htm Ronnie Scott discography]
List of jazz clubs
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