Ronnie Scott

Ronnie Scott OBE (born Ronald Schatt; 28 January 1927 – 23 December 1996) was a British jazztenor saxophonist and jazz club owner. He co-founded Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Sohodistrict, one of the world’s most popular jazz clubs, in 1959.

Ronnie Scott was born in Aldgate, East London, into a Jewish family. His father, Joseph Schatt, was of Russian ancestry, and his mother Sylvia’s family attended the Portuguese synagogue in Alie Street. Scott attended the Central Foundation Boys’ School.

Scott began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of 16. His claim to fame was that he was taught to play by “Vera Lynn’s father-in-law!”. He toured with trumpeter Johnny Claes from 1944 to 1945 and with Ted Heath in 1946. That same year, he appeared as one of the band members in George in Civvy Street. He worked with Ambrose, Cab Kaye, and Tito Burns. He was involved in the short-lived musicians’ co-operative Club Eleven band and club (1948–50) with Johnny Dankworth. Scott became an acquaintance of the arranger/composer Tadd Dameron, when the American was working in the UK for Heath, and is reported to have performed with Dameron as the pianist, at one Club Eleven gig.

Scott was a member of the generation of British musicians who worked on the Cunard liner Queen Maryintermittently from 1946 to around 1950. The ship would sail to New York City where they were exposed to Bebop, the new form of jazz being played in the clubs there. Scott was among the earliest British musicians to have been influenced by Charlie Parker and other players of modern jazz.


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