Ronnie Scott

New Ronnie Scott’s documentary due for release

A new film documenting the life of the late tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott and his famous London jazz club is due for release on 12 February.

It’s a venue I regret never getting to visit during my many years living and working in London, but back then I was more into nightclubs than jazz…For this reason I’m very keen to see this film, even though I’ve seen the story of Ronnie Scott’s in numerous TV documentaries. 

Nevertheless, “Ronnie’s” is a celebration of this world famous and iconic jazz club. Featuring performances by legendary performers as well as interviews with some of the most key figures in music, the film explores the club’s 60 year history and shines a light on the uncompromising men and women who built it. 

Ronnie Scott opened his club in the bohemian district of Soho in 1959 with business partner Pete King. The club was inspired by the vibrant post-war music scene in New York and quickly became the city’s most famous music venue.

Since then the club has consistently played host to the world’s greatest jazz performers including Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Roland Kirk, Buddy Rich, Oscar Peterson and Nina Simone. 

Ronnie was among the earliest British musicians to have been influenced by Charlie Parker and became one of the finest jazz musicians in Europe. His chief motivation in starting a jazz club was to create a space where he and his contemporaries were free to play modern, forward thinking music. 

Ronnie was beloved by many, from the great and famous who frequented his club, to the many hard-up musicians who were often helped by his warmth and generous spirit.

However, Ronnie was as complex and colourful as the music played on his stage. In private Ronnie battled depression and when his untimely death occurred in 1996 it left the jazz community bereft of a respected and favourite leader. 

On the shelf of his office was an un-opened bottle of Scotch, covered in a light layer of dust. It was given to Ronnie by a friend to open when the club became profitable.

To music fans all over the world Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is a temple built to witness and honour musical excellence.

This film is a celebration of the men and women who dreamed of building such a place and in doing so changed the landscape of live music across the world forever. They were uncompromising, resourceful and ferociously loyal to one another in their quest to explore new sounds and create the perfect environment to play and listen to jazz music. 

The 104 minute film features performances from 

  • Oscar Peterson
  • Ronnie Scott
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Roland Kirk
  • Sonny Rollins
  • Cleo Lane & John Dankworth
  • Mary Lou Williams
  • Buddy Rich
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Miles Davis
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Nina Simone
  • Van Morrison & Chet Baker