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Documentary film about Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London to be released in U.S. on Feb. 11

Film poster with silhouette of a man playing the saxophone. Poster says "RONNIE'S" and "The Life of Ronnie Scott."
Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment
Poster for the film "Ronnie's"

British saxophonist Ronnie Scott dedicated himself to bringing the world's best jazz to London. The joys and sorrows of his life are documented with love in the film "Ronnie's."

In 1959, saxophonist Ronnie Scott opened a small basement club in London’s West End.

Scott and fellow saxophonist Pete King had dreamed of opening a club modeled on the jazz scene of New York’s 52nd Street.

From its humble beginnings 60 years ago, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club would become the cornerstone of the UK jazz scene and one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world.

Scott was as complex and colorful as the music played on his stage. He managed to not only run the club, but also acted as MC (warming up the audiences with a comedy routine) and maintained his own musical career.

In private, Scott battled with depression. He died in 1996, and it's unclear whether his death was accidental or a suicide.

Funny and moving, the film features interviews with Scott, Pete King, their families and the club's staff. Comments and performances by musicians are plentiful, including Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Buddy Rich, Ben Webster, Mary Lou Williams, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix.

The opening scenes of the film show the club sitting empty, just anticipating the evening's patrons to fill the seats. It conjures up that little thrill you get down your spine when you walk into a place that's full of musical history.

You can feel it through the screen.

Ronnie's | Official Trailer

The memoir A Fine Kind of Madness: Ronnie Scott Remembered was written by his widow, Mary Scott, and her daughter, Rebecca Scott. It was published in 1999.

The film Ronnie's debuts in theaters and on demand Feb. 11.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.