149

Ronnie Scott: Birth Of A Legend

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Ronnie Scott stares out at you from the cover shot on Birth of a Legend with a confident glare, as if to dare you to suggest that the Brits couldn't play as well as their American counterparts overseas. This two-disc set of the saxophonist's various musical exploits indeed proves that across the pond in the forties and fifties were a small group of musicians who could play just as well, and sometimes better on a good night, than their idols.

Scott eventually became more famous for the club that bore his name and the recordings made there, but as a young man he was present at some of the best jazz recordings in England. You won't know many of the names, but you'll find top-notch swing and bebop from all involved.

Birth of a Legend does not focus exclusively on Scott, but instead covers all the various outfits he gigged with over the span of a couple decades. As a small cadre of eager musicians, this set thus serves as an effective overview of the jazz scene in London. Scott was a talented musician who frequently won Melody Maker polls year after year. In addition to wearing out the grooves on records available from overseas, Scott had plenty of opportunities to visit the US and experience jazz firsthand due to a stint on the Queen Mary house band.

Just like the other musicians in the various bands he occupied, they weren't innovators, but certainly weren't imitators either; while some musicians clearly can't hang with the others, frequently the music contained here is just as good as much of what came out of the States. The record has the feel of an underdog team playing in a championship game, knowing that they may lack talent but making up for it in passion and enthusiasm.

Scott made some interesting choices in his career—fronting a big band in the '50s, for one, long after everyone had turned their attention elsewhere—but he has a confident, yet unassuming style that owes much to the playing of Stan Getz. While frequently sharing the spotlight with his colleagues, Scott always manages to make good use of the brief time available to him, and was able to navigate the demands of the changes in musical styles from the '40s to '50s without much trouble.

It's always interesting to see how non-Americans have treated jazz, and Ronnie Scott deserves to be more renowned than he is. Not simply because he was a Brit who played jazz, but because this collection can stand up with the best of the era.


Track Listing: CD1: Them That Has, Gets; Ad Lib Frolic; Scrubber Time; Sunny Side Of The Street; Lady Be Good; Boppin

Personnel: &CD1: Ted Heath & His Music (1,2); Jack Parnell & His Quartet (3,4); The Esquire Five (5,6); Jazz At The Town Hall Ensemble (7,8); The Ronnie Scott Club XI Boptet (9-13); Alan Dean

Title: Birth Of A Legend | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Giant Steps


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Originals For the Originals CD/LP/Track Review Originals For the Originals
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Killing Bugs CD/LP/Track Review Killing Bugs
by Kevin Press
Published: November 20, 2017
Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "May I Introduce To You" CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Get 'Em" CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Signaling" CD/LP/Track Review Signaling
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor