Fran Hardcastle celebrates the first year of the Late Late Show at Ronnie Scott’s
Tomorrow, Tuesday night is the first birthday of what has fast become an institution for us night owls, The Late Late Show at Ronnie Scott’s. Apart from being a magnet for musicians finishing gigs, the Late Show has become a place where a lot of young jazzers can get their first break. The Show places musicians of all generations on one plateau. Stan Sulzmann or Jim Mullen can be seen alongside names like Jim Hart, Lewis Wright and Henry Armburg Jennings.
Host Michael Mwenso provides opportunities for young musicians from the jazz courses to be heard. I was recently wowed by two singers from the RAM, Emma Smith and Kwabena Adjepong. Students from the music colleges and from other London universities like UCL and Kings College also come to hang out and learn about the music. I’ve rarely heard Mwenso announce a tune without providing some interesting titbit about the composer.
If you’re lucky (which happens quite frequently), the big names in town will drop by and sit in. In the past year alone, Wynton Marsalis,(above) Robert Glasper, Christian Scott, Ethan Iverson from the Bad Plus, Adam Nussbaum, Jason Rebello and Freddy Cole have all sat in. Joss Stone has also made an appearance. One night, the entire personnel of Michael Buble’s Big Band dropped by. Quite regularly, you’ll hear a treat from British favourites like Ian Shaw, Cleveland Watkiss or Gwilym Simcock.
Mike Mwenso told LondonJazz: Wynton Marsalis spoke of its rarity saying, “we haven’t had anything like this in New York for over twenty years”. Jason Rebello sat in recently and commented, “it’s just like the old days, but better. People are listening to the music.”
So thank you to all of the fantastic musicians who have appeared in the Late Late Show over the past year and kept the party going. Happy Birthday.
The Late Late Show, 11pm – 3am, Mondays to Thursdays, Ronnie Scotts.
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