|Appearing at the 10th anniversary celebration:
Francesca Confortini and her jazz group.
Clockwise from left: Matteo Busti, Filippo Galli, Giovanni Cresseri,
Alex Otta, Toby Allen, Francesca Confortini (seated, centre)
Photo credit: Andy Porter
Peter Jones looks forward to a special evening celebrating ten years of Toulouse Lautrec in Kennington:
A grassroots jazz venue is something to be cherished, even more so if it’s putting on live jazz and cabaret seven nights a week, but that’s exactly what Kennington’s Toulouse Lautrec has been doing for the past decade. And on Tuesday 27 November, they plan a celebration to mark that tenth anniversary.
For those who have never been there, Toulouse Lautrec is a family-run enterprise based on three floors of a converted pub. The ground floor is a restaurant, the middle floor a piano bar, and at the top is a jazz club. Brothers Florent, Oliver and Nolan Régent divide up the management duties: Oliver is head chef, Florent the restaurant manager, and Nolan is in charge of the entertainment. The Régent family have been a part of the local community for 27 years, ever since the parents of the three brothers opened The Lobster Pot, two doors away.
Even I can work out that Nolan Régent must have put on 3,650 gigs since 2008. I asked how on earth he manages to keep on top of it all.
“It’s easier once you’ve got the infrastructure in place – particularly the ticketing company and the website. The thing about us is, we’ve got a unique booking policy: we’re half cabaret and half jazz. We try to preserve the Moulin Rouge spirit. So our anniversary event will reflect that: in the jazz club we’ve got Francesca Confortini with her six-piece jazz group, plus some burlesque performers, dancers and cabaret artists. In the piano bar we have the singer and trumpet-player Karl Charity, plus the singer and pianist Pete Saunders, who used to be in Dexy’s Midnight Runners.”
On the night, guests will have the freedom of the whole building, and can help themselves to a lavish dinner spread. Downstairs, they can have their picture taken – with showgirls – via the gloriously-named Vintage Selfie Frame. “It’s going to be great fun,” predicts Nolan. “The whole point of the evening is for people to experience what the venue’s all about.”
In fact, it’s about more than just putting on food and entertainment. Toulouse Lautrec has become a stalwart member of the local community, providing a much-needed venue for music students from the Guildhall to perform on Monday nights. And they support the London School of Musical Theatre and the Southwark Playhouse Theatre, whom they supply with food and rehearsal space, and who are about to move into larger accommodation in nearby Uncle Tower.
Any more news for 2019? “Yes – we’re going to be staying open all day, serving breakfast and lunch as well as dinner.”
Early Bird tickets for the 10th Anniversary event are priced at £29, including food.
During the EFG London Jazz Festival Toulouse Lautrec is hosting BOPFEST
Toulouse Lautrec is at 140 Newington Butts, London SE11 4RN, tel: 020 7582 6800.