I had a girlfriend when I was a teenager who loved modern jazz. I loved it as well but her idea of a good Saturday night out was to go to Ronnie Scott's in Gerrard Street in Soho, sit in rows on hard chairs and Be Cool just watching and listening to modern jazz. This was in the 1960s and all I wanted to do was go Boy Shopping. I did appreciate the music. I even saw Tubby Hayes play there, but I would dream of all the pulling I wasn't doing in more lively places where you could dance and just meet blokes. Eventually we came to an agreement. Every other Saturday night we'd go to dance clubs and pull and in-between we'd go to Ronnie Scott's and appreciate.
I didn't go to Ronnie Scott's again until the mid 1990s when musicians from my town were playing there alongside Jacqui Dankworth and we went to support them and we had a memorable night. More than a decade later and I was back again this week. This time to see Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Not the Blue Flames of then but the saxophonist Alan Skidmore, trumpet player Guy Barker and wonderful to see Alan Dankworth, son of Johnnie and brother of Jacqui on bass. What a line-up of world class musicians playing jazz, rhythm and blues. Georgie Fame's vocals are as rich as ever, as are his good looks.
Doesn't Alan Dankworth look like his Dad? Jacqui more like her Mum Cleo?
Ronnie Scott's, now in Frith Street in Soho, has had a revamp and is now smart and lush. Morty booked us a table right in the front so we had a first class view of the band. Georgie went from his battered Hammond organ to the piano doing his own arrangements of Van Morrison, Hoagy Carmichael, African based music and just one tribute to The Olden Days with a blasting rendition of Yeah Yeah. It sounded even better with the heavy jazz emphasis from such wonderful accompaniments. He sang a beautiful song that I've only heard sung by Frank Sinatra called 'No Not Much' as he told the audience that the late Robert Palmer had recorded it as well. That's what I call good taste.
The first time I saw Georgie Fame perform live was in a South London Town Hall in the 60s. That night everyone stopped dancing to crowd around the stage as his magic pulled them in. Rather watch and listen than dance. In the Flamingo Club in Wardour Street in the same era when it was a smoky jazz club with a terrific atmosphere. The next time was here in Dorset in the 70s doing a live gig with Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart (Stu) the original co-founder of the Stones. More recently in our local Arts Centre on tour with his two sons, one on drums and the other on guitar. It moved me seeing him with his talented boys backing him as I thought of those days when he was a young stud and I was a young bit of skirt.
Funny How Time Slips Away.