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Jazz Dynamos featuring Lucy Randell at Ronnie Scott’s

I’ve been going to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club for many years and back in the day, it wasn’t the salubrious, up-market venue it is today. Whilst it’s always had the top jazz performers appearing there, it had an edge that all of Soho had back then. From the ex-wrestler on the door whose job was to keep out the riff-raff – although at times he seemed to be failing miserably, to Ronnie Scott himself who introduced the acts and whose acerbic wit was part of the club’s fame. The iconic jazz club with its sticky carpets and none too wholesome toilets, was the centre of the jazz world. The food wasn’t too appetising – as Scott used to say, “A thousand flies can’t be wrong” and the club itself was “Just like home – filthy and full of strangers”!

Jazz Dynamos featuring Lucy Randell at Ronnie Scott's
Jazz Dynamos featuring Lucy Randell at Ronnie Scott’s

But those days have long gone as has Scott who died in 1998. Now there’s no big bouncer on the door, the décor is spotless and the food (although a little on the pricey side) is excellent but the one thing that’s been a constant at Ronnie’s (as everyone calls it), is you still get great jazz even if it’s on a Sunday lunchtime when the club is full of people enjoying a traditional lunch with all the trimmings and being entertained at the same time.

This Sunday, the entertainment came from the Jazz Dynamos who have been around for the past two decades. The quintet is made up of Mark Adelman (keyboards), Anders Janes (double bass), Dominique Metz (drums), Stewart Curtis (reeds and flutes) and Lucy Randell (vocals and percussion). The four instrumentalists are smartly dressed in matching suits and ties echoing the American bands of the fifties and sixties whilst Randell is dressed to impress whilst trying to minimise her (as she called it) “bump” as she’s due to give birth in a few weeks so this will be their last show at the club for a while!

What makes the band stand out from the crowd is that they take modern songs, mainly from the eighties and give them a jazzy twist often with a Latin American lilt throwing in some samba, bossa nova and even a Cuban salsa beat which makes for an interesting mix and perfect for a Sunday lunchtime. They played 18 songs during two sets of forty-five minutes each delighting the sold-out audience with such songs as “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, “Gold”, “Nine To Five”, “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Walking On The Moon” and one of the standouts, a slowed down arrangement of David Bowie’s “Star Man”. The audience who in the main were of a certain age, lapped up the music of their era and clapped and sang along with great enthusiasm.

Randell has a superb voice and an engaging personality who not only sang wonderfully but also played bongos and various percussion instruments. Janes and Metz are a solid rhythm section that underpinned the band with Adelman (who did all the excellent arrangements) is an inspired keyboard player. One of the highlights was Curtis’s playing be it on various reed instruments (especially on soprano sax), flute, clarinet and the rarely seen piccolo which he used to great effect on the Latin-inspired songs.

At the start of the set, Randell asked the audience who had seen the band before. Very few answered in the affirmative but judging by the reaction at the end, a lot of them will be looking to see the Jazz Dynamos again, be it at Ronnie Scott’s or another venue.

4 stars

Review by Alan Fitter

Jazz Dynamos – a five-piece band who take well known songs from the 70s and 80s, transforming them with a mix of jazz, bossa, swing and samba! Their unique set of exuberant, entertaining, original contemporary jazz arrangements includes hits by, amongst many others, Dolly Parton, Prince, Madonna, U2, The Police, a-ha and Britney Spears.

Fronted by vocalist Lucy Randell, Jazz Dynamos have presented their eclectic and distinctive repertoire at sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s and Pizza Express Jazz Clubs in London, festivals in UK, Italy, Sweden, France, Norway and Bulgaria, and at private events for British and Hollywood Royalty.

Jazz Dynamos are: Lucy Randell – Vocals and Percussion, Mark Adelman, Keyboard, Anders Janes – Double Bass, Dominique Metz – Drums and Backing Vocals, Stewart Curtis – Saxes, Flute and Piccolo

Sunday 24th September 2023

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