Travelling with baggage restrictions is a problem for most people, let alone double bass players. And now Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has a solution.
This week the club has begun using a new ‘house’ double bass for visiting musicians. And it’s fitting that this new instrument has been modelled on the one that was used by one of the greatest jazz bassists of all time, Ray Brown, who often played at the club. In his long career, Brown (1926-2002) performed with a host of jazz greats and was famously a long-standing member of the Oscar Peterson Trio.
The original double bass was given to Brown by vocalist Ella Fitzgerald (his one-time wife). And it was built by the esteemed Amati family of instrument makers, who were known, among other things, for their classic Italian violins, built in the 16th-18th centuries.
Taking approximately nine months to build (including eight coats of varnish), the new instrument has been constructed by Laurence Dixon, a Clapham-based instrument-maker. Dixon has been in regular contact with the current owner of the original bass, a Canadian bassist in the Toronto Philharmonic, to replicate its unique characteristics such as the ‘f’ holes, machine heads and carved neck scroll.
The new instrument is getting its first stint in the capable hands of Boris Kozlov, the bassist with The Mingus Big Band, who is currently appearing at the club.