The House That Jazz Built
Paul Merton looks back at the origins and impact of Ronnie Scott's, Britain's most famous jazz venue. From December 2009.
Celebrating 50 years of Ronnie Scott's, Paul Merton looks back at the origins of Ronnie Scott's, Britain's most famous jazz venue, and examines its impact in the world of music.
Ever since his trips in the late-1940s to the jazz clubs of New York's 52nd Street, Ronnie Scott dreamt of opening his own London venue. His vision came true when the first Ronnie Scott's club opened on Gerrard Street, Soho, in 1959.
The initial plan was purely to provide a base for British jazz musicians to jam. However, the club quickly developed a reputation for featuring the best in modern jazz and soon provided a platform for the world's greatest jazz musicians. It became a Mecca for jazz music fans and a popular hang-out for politicians, comedians and actors.
In 1965 it relocated a short distance to Frith Street, where it remains one of the world's most celebrated jazz rooms, complete with its own studio and record label.
Recorded on location at Ronnie Scott's, the programme features interviews with leading jazz artists Salena Jones, Ian Shaw, Jay Phelps and James Pearson, and features music and archive from personalities associated with the venue during its 50-year history.