Preview: Ronnie Scott's guitar season

Ronnie Scott's brings five big names to London for its guitar season this spring, including... a bassist and a blues singer (yes, it was once called the bass guitar)

John McLaughlin, Robben Ford, Richard Bona, Jeff Parker and John Mayall feature in Ronnie Scott's spring programme, bringing a mix of fusion, blues, alt-rock and more to the club's stage.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN & THE 4th DIMENSION Monday 13 March - Tuesday 14 March

As Jazz Journal enters its 70th year John McLaughlin (pictured right by Rita Pulavska) appears as part of the 20th birthday celebrations of Jazzwise. A virtuoso who played on Miles Davis's In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, On The Corner and A Tribute To Jack Johnson and led the Mahavishnu Orchestra, McLaughlin is joined by Gary Husband (keyboards/percussion), Etienne Mbappe (bass) and Ranjit Barot (percussion). 

ROBBEN FORD Monday 27 March - Tuesday 28 March

Robben Ford is known primarily for his scorching blues guitar lines, but he's also played with Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Scofield and Susan Tedeschi. Ford’s first instrument was the saxophone but by his late teens he had switched to guitar and the sax playing of Paul Desmond, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter influenced his guitar phrasing and tone. His first recording was in 1977 with a group of musicians who went on to become the Yellowjackets. For his appearance at Ronnie Scott’s, Ford performs music from his most recent release, Into The Sun, alongside numbers from his back catalogue.

RICHARD BONA Saturday 1 April

Electric bassist Richard Bona (pictured left by Markus Fagersten) first made his name with Joe Zawinul. He has toured with Mike Stern and Pat Metheny and appeared as a guest on two of Bobby McFerrin’s albums, along with numerous notable collaborations.

His own music draws on the rich musical heritage of his native Cameroon, African rhythms combining with jazz and soul influences, underpinned by rich grooves and melody. Bona’s skills as a singer, bassist, songwriter and arranger have helped establishe him on the world stage. He appears here with his latest band, Mandekan Cubano. Bona will be performing music from his 2016 album, Heritage, a project that explores the alchemy of African rhythms in Cuba. 

JEFF PARKER Sunday 2 April

Probably best known as a longtime member of the indie-band Tortoise, multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Jeff Parker is a founding member of the critically acclaimed groups Isotope 217˚and Chicago Underground. As a sideman he has worked with Joshua Redman, Toumani Diabate, Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, Jason Moran, Joey DeFrancesco, Meshell Ndegeocello and others. For this show Parker presents music from The New Breed, integrating electronic and acoustic elements, playing on the beat, stretching it and improvising around it. 

JOHN MAYALL Tuesday 4 - Thursday 6 April  

Hailed as ‘The Godfather of British Blues’, John Mayall, now aged 83, gave a start to some of the world’s most famous blues musicians, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor and Mick Fleetwood. Despite his venerable years, Mayall’s live shows remain gritty and electrifying. For these shows, he'll be joined by his band of Chicagoan and Texan musicians to perform material from his brand new album Talk About That, a mix of original recordings plus covers from Memphis soul, blues and rock songwriters that include a new New-Orleans flavoured tune Gimme Some Of That Gumbo

For further details and tickets visit the Ronnie Scott's website.

Bruce Lindsay

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