Saturday 6th July 2019
£35.00 - £60.00
Two brilliant shows with award-winning vocalist Ian Shaw, world renowned comedian Julian Clary and the amazing London Gay Big Band.
Here's a very special message from Ian Shaw:
Presenting, for the second year, these very special shows at my favourite club in the world, with some dear pals, old and new, is quite literally, in so many ways, the dream date. As the city of London (with Soho as its spiritual engine) welcomes people of all sexuality, colour, age, faith, non-faith, birthright and gender-identity to flood into our beautiful city to celebrate Pride 2019, the annual peace-rally that galvanises and celebrates the much-cherished and long-fought political and legislative journey to equality, we present these shows at Ronnie’s simply and joyfully to say “We are One. And we are all Different”.
Nothing joyfully says this more than great music. Music that can defiantly make you smile, dance, cry, laugh, connect, click, nod, shout, remember, empathise. Music that challenges, soars and swings - and reminds you of every good thing worth remembering. Music of classic jazz composers like Gershwin, Arlen, Porter - sung by Judy Garland, Ella, Aretha, Patti Austin, Dusty, Nat Cole. Music that shouts and rallies against hatred, racism, fear. Music like jazz. Nothing says party more than the live sound of the classic big band – a format that Ronnie Scott’s has presented, from Buddy Rich in the early days, to, more recently, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), and the world-famous Mingus Big Band and of course Ronnie Scott’s OWN big band, led by Pete Long. For tonight’s two shows Parliamentary award-winning jazz singer Ian Shaw and his old friend, ‘renowned homosexual’ comic, Julian Clary are joined by the London Gay Big Band.
The London Gay Big Band, a twenty-piece jazz orchestra made up of male and female, predominantly but not exclusively, LGBT musicians and vocalists were formed in 2011 and performs regularly at high profile events, festivals and venues. In 2014 the LGBB reached the Semi Finals of Britain's Got Talent, performing live to a television audience of 7 million people. On their album “Brave”, they recorded with artists from the worlds of jazz and theatre including Clare Teal, Ian Shaw, Claire Martin and Emma Hatton.
Jazz, unlike theatre, film, telly, cabaret and long-distance lorry-driving, hasn't been at the forefront of gayness. Famously a little too macho and not entirely inclusive, stale tales and sorry stories sadly still abound. Homophobia still affects lives - and there's more work to be done. But 2018 was the year of fabulous realisation that we can and are changing things. And 2019 happily sees more equality for women in Jazz. Look a little harder and you'll see that women have ALWAYS played (not just been canaries singing in front of blokes in dickie bows) - Maria Schneider, Joanne Brackeen, Terri Lynne Carrington, Kate Williams, Nubya Garcia, Rachael Cohen, Nikki Iles, Geri Allen, Laura Jurd, Hiromi, Trish Clowes, Yazz Ahmed, Cindy Blackman Santana, Marian McParland. Ronnie Scott’s has hosted all these great musicians. The impressive list of LGBT performers/composers continues with composer and Duke Ellington’s co-writer, Billy Strayhorn; swinging, improvising and boldly open violinist, Stephane Grappelli; singer-pianist, Patricia Barber; singer-pianist, Dena DeRose; pianist-composer Janette Mason; soulful singer, Andy Bey; revered vibes legend, Gary Burton; the wild and beautiful, recently departed, Cecil Taylor; NYC drummer, Bill Stewart; singer, comedian, activist, Lea DeLaria; UK bassist, Alison Rayner; jazz guitarist, Deirdre Cartwright; astonishing singer-guitarist, Me’shell Ndegeocello; singer-songwriter, Krystle Warren. Great musicians all.
And then our allies: co-musicians, writers, promoters, sound and light engineers, arrangers, fixers, friends, lovers, family and you, the audience. Great and truthful music unites us all.
Ronnie Scott and his buddy and business partner, Pete King, knew all about me. They knew my fears, my thrills, my insecurities - but mostly, my love of performing. They also knew my sexuality. This was a few years back, when Ronnie mentored an album of mine. Love songs that reminded him of his youth. Songs I'd never heard. Songs that made me think. Songs to fall in love to. Pete once handed me an extra wedge of cash. “For you and your mate. I know you've been having a rough time”. This was post Clause 28 - the hideous piece of UK legislation that marginalised LGBTI+ people - the lethal and legal way to uncover and cease “the promotion of homosexuality”. It was a witch hunt. Music, arts and education would suffer. Ronnie and Pete knew about these things. And in a silent way, for me anyway, refused to let stuff like this take away the music.
Ronnie Scott’s today - and its wonderful team - has never been more inclusive, more supportive, more expansive. Great music comes from everywhere. It's reflective, societal, instructive, ever-developing, bold, contemporary, historical. And fun. Always fun. It's Saturday night. Soho is jumping, inside and out. So let's party. All of us.
Happy Pride 2019! Love from Ian Shaw. 2019.
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