Some years ago when we visited Bangkok and stayed in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, we whiled away the hours after dinner in the hotel bar where live jazz was on offer. I’m a big jazz fan and have the fondest memories of those evenings in the Bamboo Bar, sipping on their extensive range of martinis, listening to live music and absorbing the atmosphere.
Over the past few years, I’ve gradually introduced my wife to the genre so she’s now also a big fan. We’ve taken trips to Brussels and incorporated visits to L’Archiduc as part of our stay. We’ve gone so far as to visit Prague specifically with the intention of seeing Diana Krall in concert.
Back home, though, while I’d hankered after a “Bamboo Bar” experience in the UK I’d never got round to finding a local jazz bar. The few on-line searches I’d done didn’t reveal a great deal in the Oxfordshire area and, somehow, the pressures of work and the daily routine always mitigated against a more thorough search. Time passed by.
Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve finally got my act together and we’re now regular visitors at Ronnie Scott’s, almost certainly the most well-known jazz club in London and very well-known much further afield. The club was founded by London-born saxophonist Ronnie Scott in 1959 and, as evidenced by the photographs lining the walls of the club, has played host to an impressive array of musicians down the years.
It makes for a fantastic night out – a lunchtime departure from Oxfordshire by train to London, a mooch around the capital, this time involving a trip to Reckless Records, sited in Soho as is Ronnie Scott’s, to add a little more to my precious collection of vinyl, a cappuccino and, maybe, a beer before heading to the club for opening time.
This time, after a spell in the queue outside anticipating the evening to come and, on being allowed entry, depositing our jackets in the cloakroom we were taken to our table by a very friendly chap who engaged us in animated conversation about our previous visit, to see Marlene Shaw (a truly amazing experience), as he showed us to our seats and took our drinks orders and, after time to consult the menu, our food orders. Scallops to start and red snapper for main. Yum!
The musicians who were to entertain us on this visit were Natalie Williams Soul family, the second time we’d seen them at the club. Hosted by Natalie Williams, the “Soul Family Sunday” performances are a fantastic, and very entertaining, mix of soul, R&B and jazz and in spite of a couple of cases of bronchitis, including Williams herself, this evening didn’t disappoint.
The perfect way to brush away the post-holiday blues and, as usual, we booked our next visit before we left the club that evening!
- Ronnie Scott’s – http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk
- Natalie Williams – http://www.nataliewilliams.com
- Diana Krall – http://www.dianakrall.com
- L’Archiduc – http://www.archiduc.net
- The Bamboo Bar – http://www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok/fine-dining/the-bamboo-bar
- Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok – http://www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok