Ronnie Scott's: Opened Friday October 30th, 1959

A young Ronnie Scott and even younger Pete King, finally opened the club that would change their lives on the 30th October. Ronnie Scott's was born in a basement premises at 39 Gerrear Street, in London Soho. To make any sense of why Ronnie wanted to this you have to be taken back 12 years.

Ronnie was 20, and a budding young musician on the tenor saxophone, "highly Promising" one magazine had called him. Ronnie himself was getting bored of the Jazz scene in London and England, so once he had gathered enough money, he spent it on a ticket to America to check out for himself what the craze was about.

Something important to note is that at that time (early post-war years) Musicians' Union restrictions meant that people were unable to hear American Jazz, so if anyone wanted to hear it, they would have to pay a lot of money to do so. Anyway with that over lets carry on...

In a short sentence, Ronnie LOVED New York, for he had never really truly experienced an American group in such a club atmosphere. Ronnie took in most of New York in his 2-week stay. This time was all that was needed to make his mind wander and explore new avenues about clubs in England. With memorable visits to the Three Deuces and other famous clubs, Ronnie knew what he wanted to do.

When Ronnie turned 32, he and his personnel friend Pete King started to look for a suitable premises to set the club up, they finally came up with 39 Gerrard Street in Soho. In the past this address had been used as a taxi rest room and sometimes used as a tea-bar. Really at the start it was a place where musicians could come and jam.

Ronnie's dad was kind enough to give him and Pete a kick-start with a £1000 loan, and took out a local advert in the local paper. The rest as they say is history.

Since that first gig, Ronnie Scott's has gone from strength to strength. With people from America eventually being allowed to play there. Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt, Bill Evans have all graced the stage at Ronnie Scott's.

The Move

With all these Jazz greats playing at Ronnie Scott's the clubs fame grew and grew. The time had come for Ronnie and Pete to find somewhere new. Again after looking extensively around they found a place at 47 Frith Street. The Newly Enlarged club with a downstairs bar, an upstairs room for pop-type acts and the original stage was opened in 1968.

The club is still run now, but only by Pete King when Ronnie Scott unfortunately died, and as ever the club has become the major Jazz club in England and around the world.


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