Boisdale Canary Wharf Opening

Quite a night. Boisdale Canary Wharf is a new addition to the London music scene an was the scene of an opening night in the geand manner tonight. Speakers Boisdale founder Ranald McDonald, venue patron Jools Holland and JazzFMer David Freeman welcomed the invited guests, who included Buddy Greco.

JazzFM were recording the evening, and have partnered up with the venue to broadcast a Discovery Show promoting new talent each Wednesday. Sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management is also involved. The venue is split level, with a bar – and cigar terrace – downstairs and restaurant upstairs.

The forthcoming programme starts next Monday and will run six nights a week. Programming is in the hands of Geoff Todd formerly of Ronnie Scott’s. We have it in our sights, it will be on LondonJazz’s review beat. Liane Carroll is there on 28th April, Roberto Pla will set the place alight on Saturday 11th June, and Jools Holland on 21st June will probably need booking early.

Canary Wharf is impervious to the trends of the UK economy, but this is a bold new venture, a capacious venue. I saw a lot of people getting slugged and lettuced, but will they hear music? Let’s see. Anyway, the message I was getting from the owners is that it is 15 minutes by tube from Waterloo and Westminster – that, I grant them, is true. More reports please.

Programme and tickets at boisdale.co.uk

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5 replies »

  1. It was a marvellous evening, and Geoff Todd was the perfect host on every level, I cannot wait to sing there, we are very lucky to have another well run venue in these problematic times.

  2. Fantastic evening. Geoff Todd is indeed a fab host. The music from Bad Ass Brass and Kate Threlfall rounded the night off perfectly.

  3. Bob Blizzard, Chair of Jazz Services has written in:

    No expense was spared on the lavish opening bash and it's the same with the decor – lots of great jazz photos. Was told they are committed to a genuine jazz programme, very welcome this end of town. The position of the stage suggests it will be a restaurant with jazz rather than a jazz club, so it might be hard to keep an audience quiet to properly appreciate real bands. Great to see Seb de Krom drumming with Ray Gelato.

  4. I've had quite a different experience. Last night, for Buddy Grecco, I was sat with my party in the 'premium' area of the venue. Unlike at Ronnie's, there is no reminder for diners to treat the performers with some respect, and consequently diners and staff alike were talking normally throughout. Staff crossed in front of the stage many times per minute, treating it as a normal restaurant rather than a music venue.

    Even the esteemed Mr Grecco had to make quips about the noises he could hear from the kitchen (“Two bacon and egg sandwiches please!”) and was visibly frustrated by the lack of engagement from the audience that the venue and its staff promoted.

    When I approached him at the interval Geoff, the Manager, insisted that Boisdale is a “restaurant that provides jazz” not a “jazz venue” and that my expectations of being able to enjoy the music were unfounded – that this was “the way it is”. A real surprise from someone who harks from a Ronnie Scott's background.

    Mysteriously, though, after my feedback and that of other patrons who were upset to be seeing a world class jazz legend under such terrible conditions, the lights were dimmed, the staff did not cross in front of the stage, and only cleared plates between numbers.

    So, whilst I'm glad that Geoff responded to our feedback, this club has a long way to go to compete on a level with Ronnie's or Pizza on the Park (lamentably now closed) for cabaret and jazz, if it wants to continue to draw the crowds.

  5. Thanks for the feedback. It does sound as though your request / complaint did have an effect. BCW has a great programme, and I'd welcome more reports.

    I can only hope that there are some (metaphorically) ringfenced tables for people who want to be close to the music and who respect what the performers do.

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