Ronnie Scott’s, the Soho (London) club that is as iconic on the international jazz scene as Birdland or the Village Vanguard in the U.S., is the subject of a new documentary directed by Oliver Murray and presented by Greenwich Entertainment. Ronnie’s will open in select theaters and for on-demand streaming on February 11.
The film tracks the history of both the club—including previously unseen footage of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jimi Hendrix, among many others—and its namesake. A lifelong Londoner who founded the venue in 1959 and died in 1996, Ronnie Scott was a revered tenor saxophonist and a beloved, colorful personality who often served as master of ceremonies at his club as well as maintaining a career as a working musician. A plaque at his place of internment calls Scott “the leader of our generation.”
“This is Ronnie telling his story in his own words,” filmmaker Murray said in an official statement. “It’s a tale of great achievement and wonderful music but also a deep-seated struggle with a traumatic illness—it was unknown to everyone except those closest to him that Ronnie suffered terribly from depression. Art has always been about taking your emotions and expressing them in your work, and music was Ronnie’s medicine for his trauma.”
Among those newly interviewed for the documentary are such noteworthy names as Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Brit-jazz legend Georgie Fame, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, and DJ Gilles Peterson.
Watch a trailer for Ronnie’s on YouTube.