This is sponsored guest post by Anna Ridley. Anna is a freelance Travel Writer who has a passion for travel, writing and drinking fizzy wine. After living in the French Alps for two years, she now lives back by the beach in Cornwall where she is attempting to work her way through her “bucket list”.
I first set foot onto the streets of London as a wary eighteen-year-old who had travelled eight and a half hours on a coach from Cornwall. My best friend and I had decided to take a “day trip” to the Big Smoke thinking it would be fun to catch a glimpse of the “bright lights” before we parted ways after college. I vowed to do two things during that trip: 1. I would never again take a day trip to London via a coach (a total of 17 hours squashed into a seat with my legs pushed up to my chin), and 2. I would one day move to this enchanting city.
A few years after my London debut, I swapped the coach for a clapped-out Peugeot 306 and I moved close to the city in search of a new career and smoky jazz clubs.
MyDestination.com/London is well-known for its variety of nightlife and while most people head to Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Shoreditch or Mayfair for thriving pubs and clubs to suit all genres and budgets, I had discovered Frith Street and the legendary Ronnie Scott’s.
Now into its 52nd year, the iconic British jazz club has seen musical talent from all over the world perform within its intimate and atmospheric surroundings. The lamp-lit rows of red velvet benches along the back walls and individual candle-lit tables on the main floor offer the perfect setting to sit back and watch the fusion of music explode from the small stage.
This was just how I had imagined it would be. A smoky room filled with people appreciating the blend of husky vocals and blaring trumpets whilst sipping chilled wine and tapping their feet.
I was lucky enough to see the British jazz singer Clare Teal play live with the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band and after belting out the first few lines of “Come Fly With Me”, I was glad to be sat slightly back from the stage which has been graced by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Miles Davis and Jools Holland.
Gone are the days of smoky jazz clubs where you can’t see past the rim of your chilled glass of chardonnay, but the smoking ban has failed to alter the charming ambience found in these cosy venues as you are transported back in time via the timeless classics of the Jazz Age.
If your feet are still tapping at the end of the night, you can head upstairs to Ronnie’s Bar for more live music, jam sessions and a few cheeky cocktails until kick-out time at 3am.
Jazz clubs are not just found along the cobbled streets of Paris, down dark alleyways in New York, or on the streets and squares of New Orleans. London has its own collection of charismatic venues including Jazz After Dark (famously known as a hangout for Amy Winehouse), the 606 Club in Chelsea, the Jazz Café in Camden Town, and the Vortex Club, where Louis Armstrong meets Latin beats and saxophone meets salsa.
People say jazz is like Marmite – you either love it or hate. Fortunately I happen to love a piece of Marmite toast while relaxing to the crooning melodies courtesy of Michael Buble.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.