Boston historian Paul Mould pens a column

Paul Mould
Paul Mould

BOSTON’S local historian Paul Mould looks back to the history of the town’s jazz club.

IN 1949 the Jazz Club, which was above a shop in Red Lion Street, was very popular.

Local enthusiasts such as John Padley, Ivan Jessop and Barry Eastick created a rabid interest in Dixieland and traditional jazz and occasionally they tempted a star player to appear.

How many Bostonians, however, realise four years earlier the man, whose name would become synonymous with jazz, lived in Boston for six months?

Ronnie Scott was 18 then and was a member of the resident band at the Gliderdrome, Johnny Claes and his Claes-pigeons. He was already a virtuoso on the tenor saxophone and, together with Freddie Crump on the drums, he was the main attraction.

On the nights he was not performing at the Gliderdrome he could be found in the Rugby Room at the Peacock & Royal, where the Boots store is now, joining in a session with local Jazz players, Bob Kitchen on piano, Malcolm (Mousey) Hall on Double Bass, and Johnny (Scorcher) Porcher on drums. Reg Howard played the piano-accordion for a while but he was so impressed by Ronnie Scott that he gave up the ‘squeeze-box’ and switched to the tenor sax.

They could never have imagined that the Ronnie Scott Jazz Club in Soho would become the Mecca for all Jazz fanatics and every star performer in the world would appear there.

Ronnie was loved and respected by all the greats as well as millions of ordinary people, who visited his club when they went to London. Every jazz lover in the country mourned, when on December 23, 1996, he was found dead in his Chelsea flat.