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It’s a greats year for jazz

Ronnie Scott’s is marking the 100th anniversaries of some of the biggest names, performing their music in The Band series

18 May, 2017 — By Sebastian Taylor

Clockwise from top left: Dizzy Gillespie (photo Roland Godefroy); Budy Rich (photo: Paul Spürk), Ella Fitzgerald, Tadd Dameron and, centre, Thelonious Monk

This is a big year for 100th anniversaries in the jazz world. In the first four months of 1917, bop romanticist Tadd Dameron was born on February 21 and “The First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald on April 25.

Then, in autumn 1917, “Drum Wonder” Buddy Rich was born on September 30; the “high priest of jazz”, Thelonious Monk on October 10; and trumpet innovator Dizzy Gillespie on October 21.

There’s a common thread to these centenaries, the Big Band. Each of the performers came to prominence in the big bands which played such a crucial role in the history of the development of jazz.

Big bands led by the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chick Webb and Benny Goodman produced a parade of hit tunes in the 1930s, becoming the rock stars of their day.

By the 40s, teenagers were dancing to the records of the big band, well and truely hooked by a whole raft of singers and performers.

Soho jazz haunt Ronnie Scott’s is therefore marking the 100th anniversaries of the five jazz “greats” by performing their music in The Band series over coming months, mostly at the club.

Highlights include:
May 22-27: The Buddy Rich Big Band featuring great drummers Dave Wecki and Gregg Potter.
June 12-17: Drummer Billy Cobham with the Guy Barker Big Band.
Sunday July 9 and 10: Fifteen-piece big band MONK’Estra led by John Beasley, director of the Thelonious Monk Institute.
Thursday, July 27 at Cadogan Hall & Sunday July 30-Friday August 4 at Ronnie Scott’s: singer-saxophonist Curtis Stigers performs Sinatra at the Sands with the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band.
August 7-12: Mingus Big Band.
October 3-7: Georgie Fame with the Guy Barker Big Band.

• www.ronniescotts.co.uk

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