Category Archives: Music

Discover London | Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is a jazz club which has operated in London since 1959.

The club opened on 30 October 1959 in a basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London’s Soho district. It was managed by musicians Ronnie Scott and Pete King. In 1965 it moved to a larger venue nearby at 47 Frith Street. The original venue continued in operation as the “Old Place” until the lease ran out in 1967, and was used for performances by the up-and-coming generation of musicians.

Zoot Sims was the club’s first transatlantic visitor in 1962, and was succeeded by many others (often saxophonists whom Scott and King, tenor saxophonists themselves, admired, such as Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt) in the years that followed. Many UK jazz musicians were also regularly featured, including Tubby Hayes and Dick Morrissey who would both drop in for jam sessions with the visiting stars. In the mid-1960s, Ernest Ranglin was the house guitarist. The club’s house pianist until 1967 was Stan Tracey. For nearly 30 years it was home of a Christmas residency to George Melly and John Chilton’s Feetwarmers. In early 1969, The Who premiered Pete Townshend’s rock opera “Tommy” at the club. It was the site of Jimi Hendrix’s last live performance.

Scott regularly acted as the club’s Master of Ceremonies, and was (in)famous for his repertoire of jokes, asides and one-liners. After Scott’s death, King continued to run the club for a further nine years, before selling the club to theatre impresario Sally Greene in June 2005.

In 2009 Ronnie Scott’s was named by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of 12 venues which had made the most important contributions to jazz music in the United Kingdom, and finished third in the voting for the initial award.

News | David Bowie and Queen… in Lego form? [Daily Mail]

British artist Aaron Savage has unveiled his greatest bricks – legendary album covers made out of Lego.

The 21-year-old gave the yellow Lego men different haircuts, clothes and facial expressions to make them look like his idols for his musical project.

He then spent days arranging the figures and bricks to recreate his favourite LPs – including classics from Queen, David Bowie and Blur.

Amazing creations! Here’s a sneak peek:
Arctic Monkeys' LP is given the Savage treatment with a special lego cigarette used
Arctic Monkeys' LP is given the Savage treatment with a special lego cigarette used
The lego figure was given a pretty pink dress to mimic Lilly Allen's Its Not Me It's You record
The lego figure was given a pretty pink dress to mimic Lilly Allen's Its Not Me It's You record

British Celebrity Spotlight | Sting

Image from and Content from Wikipedia

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, CBE (born October 2, 1951), known by his stage name Sting, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist. Prior to starting his solo career, he was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist for the rock band The Police.

Sting has varied his musical style throughout his career, incorporating distinct elements of jazz, reggae, classical, New Age, and worldbeat into his music. As a solo musician and member of The Police, Sting has received sixteen Grammy Awards for his work, receiving his first Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1981, three Brit Awards — winning Best British Male in 1994, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, and several Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

A high point in his many contributions to the human rights cause came in 1988, when he joined a team of other major musicians – including Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen – assembled under the banner of Amnesty International for the six-week Human Rights Now! world tour commemorating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Fun facts:

  • Sting occasionally has ventured into acting.
  • An avid chess player, Sting played Garry Kasparov in an exhibition game in 2000, along with four bandmates: Dominic Miller, Jason Rebello, Chris Botti, and Russ Irwin. Kasparov beat all five simultaneously within 50 minutes.
  • Formerly eating only animals that he raised himself, Sting now adheres to a macrobiotic diet.
  • In 1969 Sting read the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake and became a passionate fan. He later bought the film rights to the books, and also named household pets, a race horse, his publishing company, and even one of his daughters (Fuchsia) after characters from the books.
  • Sting is a supporter of Newcastle United, and in 2009, backed a Newcastle United Supporters campaign against the controversial plan of owner Mike Ashley to sell off the naming rights to St James’ Park.
  • Sting is agnostic.

Fran Reviews | Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band (July 31st, 2012)

(link to previous post on Hugh Laurie and the band:

Jazz lovers, music lovers, Hugh appreciators – this is a show you don’t want to miss.

If you are waiting for Gregory House, you will be disappointed. If you are expecting a flamboyant, non-run of the mill jazz session, you’ve got another thing coming. This is jazz meets blues in New Orleans, a pure Buddy Bolden (et al) extravaganza.

The great classics are covered, from ‘Six Cold Feet’ to ‘St. James Infirmary’, and all of these are accompanied by a little story of its origin and who has covered it in the past and all you can think of, courtesy of Mr. Laurie, who proclaims he doesn’t want to come across as a “music nerd”. The band is absolutely bang on, joining Hugh’s piano skills blissfully. I have to say, the band just blew me away. One might even say that they were… ‘Red Hot’? See what I did there?

I wish I could say the venue was packed. It wasn’t – at all, in fact. I have to say that, although it wasn’t full, it certainly felt that way. The audience clapped and clapped for minutes on end at some points, we all sang along and displayed our singing skills when urged to. The venue took a life of its own and suddenly we were all jazz saxophonists, pretending to be Vincent Henry.

Hugh reported, once he had got to Portugal, that Lisbon was a romantic city he yearned to explore. Well, according to the man himself, he did love it. And the love was reciprocate – Portuguese people love him just as much as he loved our capital city.

This is it, folks – the aftermath of the gig. It was magical, it was smokin’. Grab those tickets fast!

(I shall leave you with the video of the aforementioned interview +a picture I took at the concert (I’ve been trying to upload them all but my connection is a tad sluggish today – apologies for that). Also, don’t forget to check my friend’s Tumblr page, who was with me throughout my little adventure and who I absolutely loved to meet for the first time! Good times! –

Taken by yours truly. Give credit where credit is due, pretty please? 🙂


Music | BBC Proms (13 July – 8 September) + What is it?

The BBC Proms are upon us! Make sure you visit to see what’s on and to buy tickets to shows.


The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of more than 70 concerts in the Albert Hall, a series of chamber concerts at Cadogan Hall, additional Proms in the Park events across the United Kingdom on the last night, and associated educational and children’s events. In 2009 the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time. In the context of classical music festivals, Jiří Bělohlávek has described the Proms as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival”.[1]

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London’s pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing. In fact this tradition has been revived in parks and stately homes around the UK at promenade concerts such as the Battle Proms. In the context of the BBC Proms Promming now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall (the arena and gallery) for which ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating. Single-concert Promming tickets can be bought, with few exceptions, only on the day of the concert, which can give rise to long queues for well-known artists or works. Proms concert-goers, particularly those who stand, are sometimes described as “Promenaders”, but are most commonly referred to as “Prommers”. Prommers can buy full- or half-season tickets instead for guaranteed entry (until 20 minutes before the concert is due to start), although not the assurance of a particular standing position. A number of Prommers are particularly keen in their attendance. In 1997, one programme in the BBC documentary series Modern Times covered this dedicated following of enthusiasts.

Books for Anglophiles | ‘A Perfect Summer’, by Paige Toon

– This book was recommended by Harriet, who commented on my ‘Chic Lits’ edition of ‘Books for Anglophiles’. Thank you, Harriet! Make some you check more Paige Toon books – they are bound to make amazing Summer reads! –

One Perfect Summer


‘And you still love him?’
‘Every second of every minute of every hour of every day…’

While on holiday in Dorset one summer, Alice meets Joe, a guy working at the local pub. She’s eighteen and on the brink of starting university, while Joe’s life is seemingly going nowhere. But despite their differences, the pair fall hopelessly and desperately in love. And then summer comes to an end and they are dramatically torn apart.

Alice heads off to university in Cambridge where she gets a part-time job punting on the River Cam and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. One day Lukas – a gorgeous golden boy from Cambridge University – spies her and it’s not long before Alice falls for his charms.

Months turns into years, but then Joe comes back into Alice’s life again in a way that she could never have imagined. While Alice lives her ordinary life with Lukas, she has to watch from the sidelines as Joe’s life becomes evermore extraordinary. She never stopped loving him, but he’s out of her reach now, surely? And what about Lukas?

Music for Anglophiles | ‘The Pursuit’, by Jamie Cullum

Jamie Cullum is an artist deserving of superlatives but more complex than a simple set of adjectives can depict. If you know him as “just” a jazz musician or from his strikingly creative way with cover versions (among them, Radiohead’s ‘High & Dry’ and Pharrell’s ‘Frontin’) you’re just familiar with the tip of the iceberg.

‘The Pursuit’, his fifth album and first new solo record in four years, is summed up by its title, taken from Nancy Mitford’s classic novel, The Pursuit Of Love. “In life, we pursue everything. Life is one long pursuit,” says Jamie and the album is just such a pursuit – a combination of his eclectic music tastes and enduring love of Jazz and its timeless standards.

It is a record that mixes his heritage with a thrilling selection of modern influences. Describing its sound he moves from Cole Porter to Rhianna to Aphex Twin in the same sentence. Jamie is a performer capable of delivering constant surprises with a talent elastic enough to evince a four-to-the-floor acoustic Ibiza song on the same record as a lushly recorded Jazz standard.

The making of ‘The Pursuit’ was a marathon not a sprint. Having decided to take time off after two years touring 2005’s ‘Catching Tales’ and the juggernaut of praise and press that followed the previous album 2003’s ‘Twentysomething’, Jamie turned to other projects. “I took a whole year off,” he says, “I played in other people’s bands and worked with other artists, I Dj’d, made dance music with my brother and travelled.” He also found time to build his own studio, Terrified Studios, in London’s Shepherd’s Bush – “I call it that because I am so unknowledgeable about technology that I’m usually terrified when I’m in there,” laughs Jamie.

News | Sex Pistols on list for Olympics’ opening ceremony

The Sex Pistols’ song appears on a leaked list of music proposed for the ceremony on July 27, alongside some more notable classics.

The song includes the lines: “God save the Queen, the fascist regime…God save the Queen, she ain’t no human being” and ends: “No future, no future, no future for you.”

Use of the track, which was banned by the BBC when it was released in 1977, reflects an eclectic and controversial style to be adopted by Danny Boyle, the creative director, in contrast with that of the Golden Jubilee concert earlier this month.

The list also includes Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax, which was similarly banned by the BBC when it was released in 1984 on the grounds of its explicit lyrics.

Other music on the list of 86 tracks is more traditional, including patriotic favourites such as Land Of Hope And Glory, Jerusalem and the Dambusters March.

Tracks by the elder statesmen of British pop music are included, such as The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and David Bowie.

And there are classics such as London Calling by The Clash, Going Underground by The Jam, My Generation by The Who and Rudy by The Specials.

They come alongside more recent tunes such as the Sugababes, Push the Button, Amy Winehouse’s version of Valerie and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.

Rock acts such as Radiohead, Coldplay, Muse, Oasis and Blur are on the list alongside rappers such as Rizzle Kicks, Tinie Tempa and Dizzee Rascal.

Classic TV and radio theme tunes include Eastenders, Coronation Street, the Archers and the BBC news and film theme tunes such as Chariots of Fire and the James Bond Theme.

Among the fun tunes listed are My Boy Lollipop and Tiger Feet, but there is no room for performers at the Diamond Jubilee Concert including Cliff Richard, Elton John, and Tom Jones.

The music will be mixed together by Underworld – DJs Karl Hyde and Rick Smith – at Abbey Road Studios and the pair have included their own dance music classic Born Slippy, which featured in Boyle’s film Trainspotting, as well as the Prodigy’s Firestarter.

Mr Boyle, 55, has already revealed that the spectacular will feature a Glastonbury-style “mosh pit” but an Olympics spokesman said: “We want the ceremony to be a fantastic surprise for the watching world, and we want the British public to be proud of it.

“There is endless speculation about the content – much of which is simply guesswork, as we are keeping the show under wraps.”

Music for Anglophiles | “Sing” EP, by Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band

A very special souvenir album celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. Includes “Sing”, written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber featuring the Military Wives and artists from around the Commonwealth, including Prince Harry on tambourine. Also includes “Here Comes the Sun” performed by Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band. The album also features Alfie Boe, Hayley Westenra and Laura Wright.

Sing EP

Music Video Thursday | Cheryl’s ‘Call My Name’

I don’t own the rights to this video.