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Scott, Ronnie

Scott, Ronnie

Scott, Ronnie, famed British jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist, leader; b. London, England, Jan. 28, 1927; d. there, Dec. 23, 1996. His father, Joseph “Jock” Scott (1903–58), was a saxophonist and bandleader; his uncle was violinist Dave Scott. Ronnie took tenor sax lessons at age 15; when he was 16, he began playing with various leaders. He played on several trips aboard the Queen Mary ocean lines in 1947 and 1950; he is said to have studied jazz in N.Y. after the boat stopped there. He organized his first band in 1952, and worked with various lineups through the 1950s. Scott first visited the U.S. with his sextet in 1957; he opened his first jazz club in London in 1959. From the early 1960s through the 1990s, he led groups of various sizes. He led big band tours with Scott Walker (1968), Ella Fitzgerald (1969), Jack Jones (1972), and Nancy Wilson (1973). He was also featured in the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band (1962–72) and was featured as a soloist at many international festivals and in a brief season in Portugal with Mike Carr (1970). From the 1970s through the mid-1990s, he was frequently on the road, primarily in Europe, while he continued to perform regularly at his London-based club. He was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1981. He was temporarily out of action due to dental surgery during 1995–96. He committed suicide at his London home late in 1996.

Scott is best known as co-operator (with Peter King) of one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world—a club that has been in existence for almost 30 years.


Battle Royal (1951); Scott at Ronnie’s (1973); Serious Gold (1977); Never Pat a Burning Dog (1990); The Band: Live at Ronnie Scott’s (1968).


R. Scott and M. Hennessey, Some of My Best Friends Are Blues (London, 1979); K. Grime, Jazz at Ronnie Scott’s by Kitty Grime (London, 1979); J. Fordham, Let’s Join Hands and Contact the Living: Ronnie Scott and His Club (London, 1986); J. Fordham, Jazz ManThe Amazing Story of Ronnie Scott and his Club (London, 1995)

—John Chilton , Who’s Who of British Jazz/Music Master Jazz and Blues Catalogue/Lewis Porter

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