Presenting The Ronnie Scott Sextet.
I was really pleased to pick this album up at a charity shop recently. It’s a solid album throughout. This issue dates to 1968 but presents numbers recorded over two days in London in early January 1957. That was the year I was born, although I was not yet quite a twinkle in my parents’ eyes.
I’m becoming a big fan of Fifties British jazz. It has a distinctive feel to it I think, the slower numbers seem to be drenched in melancholy, and whatever the pace adopted one is left with a sense of sepia tones. The Second World War left Britain with a long hangover, and that’s what comes through I think.
The sleeve notes tell us the tracks here were recorded a few weeks before Ronnie Scott “head(ed) the first group of British modern jazz musicians to go to America under the Anglo-American exchange scheme, as tricky a delivery of coals to Newcastle as had ever been ordered”. A couple of years later (incidentally, I see it was on the day my wife was born) Ronnie, together with Pete King, opened his famous London club, originally located in Gerrard Street. The informative sleeve notes also make mention of Ronnie’s penchant for jokes and one-liners delivered during his sets and as host at his club and tell us in 1967 he added “a new joke to his canon. ‘The police have asked me to remind you’… ‘that breathalyser tests are now in operation. So if you’re thinking of drinking and driving tonight – don’t breathe.”
(Strange but true - I had decided on the two tracks to feature from the album before I wrote this little piece. It wasn’t until I typed their titles it struck me how appropriate they were!)