A new documentary about the life and times of British saxophone great Ronnie Scott and his world-famous London jazz club will open in selected theaters and on demand on February 11. Greenwich Entertainment’s Ronnie’s is directed by Oliver Murray and described as a “definitive and intimate” portrait, including many previously unseen and unheard performances captured at the club by jazz giants.
The film charts the establishing of Ronnie Scott’s by the beloved sax player and his business partner Pete King in 1959, and how their trailblazing spirit and bold booking policy made the club a focal point of Soho and a magnet for the biggest names in jazz.
Previously unshared material includes footage and audio by Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, Van Morrison, Sarah Vaughan, Roland Kirk, and others. The documentary also shines a light on Scott himself, his preeminence in British jazz, the personal charisma that helped the club succeed, and his private battle with depression, before his death in 1996.
Says director Murray: “To music fans all over the world, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is a temple built to witness and honour musical excellence. This film is a celebration of the men and women who dreamt of building such a place and in doing so changed the landscape of live music across the world forever.
“My hope is that the film offers a look at the truest, most honest version of Ronnie. This is Ronnie telling his story in his own words. 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.”