New East Belfast Jazz Club brings East End to life
Scott’s Jazz Club in East Belfast has been on a mission for 20 years to bring music to a wider audience and to introduce the general public to some of Northern Ireland’s finest exponents of the genre.
the place was formed in part by Scott Flanigan, a local musician who wanted to share his passion for jazz.
Scott explained how he was first contacted by Cormac O’Kane, who encouraged him to start something that would showcase talent in the city.
Scott told us: “I was approached by Cormac, who works a lot in a range of places. He had worked a lot at the Ballyhackamore Working Men’s Club, up Sandown Road. He has a nice, nice room at the top.
“Cormac is a big fan of jazz and knows how much talent goes undiscovered here, so he approached me and asked if I wanted to start a jazz club. taking care of the venue and working on finding the right music, and we were both focused on bringing in the audience.”
The club joins the likes of the well-established Berts Jazz Bar, in the city centre, to show how the demand for this type of music is growing in Belfast. Scott said there is more talent in Northern Ireland than people realize and this club is a chance to showcase it.
He added: “The focus is on the music and it’s about bringing good music to local audiences so they can really hear what’s going on in Irish jazz. People love it this week. after week.”
He added that there was a real appetite for it in the city.
Scott said: “I think there’s a real thirst for jazz in Belfast. People here really love the music and there hasn’t been a dedicated place for people to discover jazz, in Belfast, in recent years, which is a real shame, but people have really responded to it.
He also added that people might have a certain preconceived idea about jazz music – whether it’s noble, snobbish or pretentious – but experiencing it in the flesh is very different.
He added: “Jazz music is actually very accessible. When you give it a chance, it’s not really horribly complex music, it’s not people sitting around stroking their beards. It’s not one negative thing – it’s alive.
“We had people who came who would never normally describe themselves as jazz fans, but they came because they feel the energy and they see the passion in the musicians. If you go on and let the music wash Get away and enjoy the ride, you’ll be happy here.”
Scott said the jazz club has allowed him to work with some of Northern Ireland’s greatest musical talent.
“I should mention Cormac O’Kane, Colin Harper and Karen Smyth, who were all involved in the establishment of the club. Then I would also mention that the jazz scene in Northern Ireland is very strong.
“There’s a handful of jazz players around Belfast, and there’s a jazz scene in Derry. It’s growing. You have people like Linley Hamilton, a jazz trumpeter who teaches at Magee College.
“There’s a lot to experience there, and what I want this club to be is a celebration of all of Belfast’s jazz musicians, some of whom have worked in this part of the world for years, decades. “
Learn more about Scott’s Jazz Club here.