How to get a gig at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club


Would you like to perform at one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world? This week I talk to Paul Pace, one of the bookers at London’s Ronnie Scott’s. He tells us who they like to book and how you can work the same legendary stage as Ella Fitzgerald, Jamie Cullum and Miles Davis.

In the jazz world “cabaret” is often considered a dirty word. Connecting with the audience, chatting between songs and delivering an entertaining show can sometimes work against a singer. Not as far as Paul’s concerned, as he told me, “Look at Annie Ross. She’s definitely a jazz musician but she’s also a very good cabaret artiste in that she performs a show, talks to the audience and you feel like you’re in her living room… therefore you’re drawn into the music. The technical aspects are a given, if they are going to play at Ronnie Scott’s they have to be a master of their instrument… it’s more than that though… there are people who are highly considered in the jazz world who we haven’t booked again because they don’t engage with the audience.”

In this practical and revealing interview Paul tells us exactly the kind of jazz Ronnie Scott’s likes to present and the balance they look for between avant garde and mainstream. If you want a gig a Ronnie Scott’s check out Paul’s top tips:

  • Learn your craft. Don’t go straight to Ronnie Scott’s with your new act. Wait until you’re ready.
  • Work the circuit first. By working other clubs in London you’ll probably be noticed by the bookers at Ronnie Scott’s. If they know who you are when you do eventually approach them for a gig you’ll have a much better chance of success.
  • Lay off the hard sell. Don’t be too pushy. Polite persistence pays.
  • Sing in Paul’s open mic night at the Spice of Life. I can’t recommend this enough. What better way to be seen by the booker and meet your peers in a friendly environment. Listen to the Podcast to hear what Paul says about making the most of your open mic opportunity. Click here for details of where and when the open mic takes place. You might also enjoy this article on open mics.
  • Keep promo emails short. Make sure your YouTube clip is shot professionally no more than 3 minutes.

Recorded 8th December 2014 in London.

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