Here’s a reader’s request by email:
Harry to Sebastian Scotney:
Please . Where can I take a family to listen to some good jazz and have something to eat on a Sunday in London at lunch time?
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Here’s my reply, I could think of FOUR:
Sebastian Scotney to Harry
It depends where you are in town. And on , er , budget.
*There are Thai and Italian restaurants in the same building as the
music room of the Bull’s head in Barnes
*Check out the Royal Albert Hall Cafe Consort
*The St Pancras Grand – it’s expensive if you go a la carte. Here’s my review
I have that nagging sense I’ve missed LOADS. Help me out?
THe perfect place for this – especially for a family affair rather than some serious listening, used to be the Festival Hall foyer, where every Saturday and Sunday lunchtime would be live music, with a bias towards jazz. When we played there as the Honkin' Hep Cats or the Big Buzzard Band, we would have audiences in the many hundreds (even 1000 once) enjoying free music, with plenty of places to eat nearby. That tradition seems, I fear, to be no more.
The Jazz in London free sheet advertises a bunch of gigs on Sunday afternoons – mostly smaller out-of-town-centre affairs, though some of these would be worth the trip: http://www.jazzinlondon.net/JIL/Oct-09-seq.pdf (last page)
Soweto Kinch organises an enjoyable session each Sunday 2-5pm at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Rd, E1. Lovely venue, kids are welcome, food is adequate, draught beer is often “off”.
My only reservation is that the musicians are happy to complain about the audience – in this case those who choose (on a Sunday afternoon) to read newspapers while listening. This rather precious self-regard by musicians was also noticeable at Ain't Nothing But the Blues on Sat afternoon – performers complained about the audience chatting – and then proceeded to chat themselves during other acts.
Topic for discussion: why can't jazz and blues musicians lighten up a little?
The Hideaway, Streatham. Definitely recommended!