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Ronnie Scott’s at Pikes Hotel and all that jazz…

The renowned London jazz club lands again in Ibiza.

When two celebrated entities like world-renowned London jazz club Ronnie Scott's and legendary hotel Pikes unite to create an evening of top music and great gastronomy, it's something you grab with both hands. We could not miss it so miss it, we did not.

We arrived to be greeted by the lovely Pikes staff before heading off to the pool area made famous by the Wham hit, Club Tropicana, making you feel privileged already to be in a place where many music gods have made things happen. It's a thrill and it's cocktail hour, so we indulge to get the night started.

Passing by reception, we took a glimpse of more of the famous faces to have graced Pikes: Julio Iglesias, Grace Jones, George Michael and Freddy Mercury are all there smiling back at you from the past. We were now looking forward to see how Ronnie Scott's would leave its own indelible mark.


Up-tempo beginnings

The night gets ready for the sweet, intoxicating sounds of jazz

Dinner is prepared by Lee Milner, the mind and the talent behind every plate here with tempting items tonight like octopus with grapefruit, an artichoke veloute then prized Galician beef and an amazing vegan cauliflower dish. Dinner is as classy as you would expect for the coming night. A perfect match of food and music.

Then it begins, the reason why we are here: the Rachael Cohen Quartet makes its way onto the Plaza Mayor stage. A prodigy of the London jazz scene, Rachael has gained much fame and is now a Ronnie Scott's regular.

The concert begins with a surprising up-tempo tune. Rachael starts in full force with her saxophone. She is the centre of a magical universe of sounds with her three musicians. The band is as precise as a metronome, never losing a note, always ready to change the tone of the music, according to the direction it's taking.


An all important jazz hand, enjoying the subliminal

She moves her finger on the saxophone keys like it's the most natural thing in the world. The rhythm is constantly changing, going back a beat and then going in another direction. This is what good jazz is about: a mesmerising dialogue between instruments. At the same time the sound never loses that important expression of the human spirit.

In this band there is space for everyone, with solos from all four members and they are all always on tempo. Fletcher from the movie Whiplash would be saying in this case that yes, this is “quite my tempo”.

The second tune is a Brazilian influenced number, the music taking us to a beautiful imagined landscape in Rio de Janeiro with the keyboard predominating and the drummer smiling as he draws out musical scales into the Ibizan night. It feels like the beauty of creation, bringing about happiness through musical expression.


Shining bass

Night-time descends and the music is free flowing

Then it's time for some impromptu. The drummer starts a solo and the bass player follows him. They understand each other. They look at each other. They are jazz faces filled with energy and endeavour to shape the music.

A piece called Voyage is the moment for the bass to shine with the music evoking suffering as you watch this musician place immense concentration on his instrument. Jazz is all about being taught to speak to an instrument and it's seen in great majesty here.

A musical break and our main course, the sea bass, which is juicy and perky and very enjoyable. The recommended wine is just too perfect. Oh my God I love it here! Quickly it seems the musicians are back on stage, starting with the same passion and the same fast pace. The sheer velocity of Rachael's fingers is insane plus the keyboard player is feeling it like no one else, showing us what the word virtuoso means.


Personal sounds

All the musicians prove to be at the top of their game with the drummer at this point looking for new inspiration, then playing the iron rail at the end of the stage. More personal sounds come in the second set, the instruments venturing into different places with the musicians showing they are unafraid to try elaborate transitions. They play with much more determination and harder. Now it's personal.

What stands out most is watching the jazz musicians enter a state of total trance with the music, moving to another dimension and almost forgetting the audience is there. They want to achieve something unique and unrepeatable. With jazz you can hear the same tune played in a million different ways, which is why seeing it live offers so much promise.

We are brought to a magnificent conclusion with beautiful solos and some excellent musicianship, marking the last notes of a great concert and I reflect on the need for jazz to find a a public on this island. Yes, there are festivals and jazz bars though after this concert, I see the need for more people to know about this musical genre, because actually, jazz IS life and jazz is art in the making.

Listening to these sublime sounds at Pikes has been pure perfection and with four more dates this summer, you too can experience the love of music via jazz. Finally. thank you for everything the Rachael Cohen Quartet. It has been a real pleasure.


PHOTOGRAPHY | Megan Redshaw

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