Tonight, the legendary jazz singer/songwriter Sarah Jane Morris sings at Ronnie Scott’s, with a voice that spans four spine-tingling octaves and a repertoire that straddles the genres of rock, blues, jazz and soul. Get down there this evening, for some smooth tunes and some even smoother cocktails (perhaps best to ring ahead, as her performance on Saturday is already sold out). Such a national treasure is Ronnie Scott’s that two entire books have endeavoured to tell its story. The potted version is thus: it was opened in 1959 by one Ronnie Scott (plus fellow musicians Pete King and Leo Green) – Scott was largely credited with importing modern jazz to Britain and in 1981 was awarded the OBE for services to jazz. He died in 1996, and in 2005, King sold it to theatre impresariette Sally Greene, who brought in Hotel Costes’ designer Jacques Garcia for a £2 million facelift. Thankfully, however, when the lights are down, it looks exactly the same (think 1950s’ Soho – warm, dark, rich, red, and lined with black-and-white photos of all the musicians who have played here: Dizzy, Miles, Ella, etc). She’s also brought in a decent menu, and opened a members’ club upstairs (here, think unrestrained Hotel Costes – all luxe lounge bar). But when the old jazz cats are smoking up the smoothest tunes, there’s nowhere else to be but in the magic and romance of the main room; ideal for conversationally challenged dates.
By Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough
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Hg2 | A Hedonist's Guide is a luxury city guide series coveted by travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Irreverent, inspired, and, above all, intelligent.

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