There’s something incredibly powerful about a saxophone, which has inspired my love of jazz.

Many years ago, my parents and I took trip to Vietnam to visit my mum’s cousin who lived in Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon). One evening she and her husband took us out to a jazz cafe. I was immediately intrigued as I had never thought to associate the Vietnamese with jazz! Well the minute we walked in my jaw dropped. On the stage was this petite, yet round and beautiful Vietnamese lady singing the most incredible jazz and blues I had ever heard. I was stunned. It turned out to be my favourite memory of the trip and I still to this date have not seen or heard anything like it!

In London, however, I discovered the fabulous jazz venue, Ronnie Scott’s, because my good friend David introduced me to it. I remember the first time we went. We saw Natalie Williams & The Soul Family perform and I was more than impressed. David and I were enjoying great wine and appetisers and by the end of the night everyone was off their seats and dancing! It was brilliant! The only thing is that Natalie Williams only plays on Sundays so by 11:30pm/12 midnight there would be a mad dash for the underground in haste of and early Monday morning start!

So my love of the saxophone and jazz continues to blossom and for me it’s a fast and fun way to lift a low mood. The moment the drums roll, the saxophonist begins and the singer releases their first note, I’m in heaven!

If I’ve inspired you to explore this fabulous form of music then here are a couple of great venues to check out in London:

  • Jazz at the Oxo Tower Brasserie, Southbank: It’s on most nights live and the ambiance is amazing. The brasserie is what you want to go for rather than the restaurant because it’s all glass and you can see amazing views of London.
  • Jazz@PizzaExpress, Soho: They have well chosen traditional jazz, with occasional appearances by big names, and is accompanied by the usual Pizza Express menu, so although getting in can be a bit pricey, once you’re in it’s all very reasonably priced.
  • The Vortex Jazz Club, Soho: The Vortex has become a big name on London’s improv jazz scene and is now well known for its consistently exciting programming. Mopomoso is the improv club night to catch here. It was founded in 1991 by guitarist John Russell and pianist, trumpeter and composer Chris Burn. Its aim was to promote improvised music and, where applicable, its relationship to other forms of contemporary music-making, with practitioners coming from backgrounds in jazz, rock, folk, classical, electronic, world and computer-generated music. It’s more of a place for a jazz enthusiastic so if you’re new to this, try the top two first J