Ray Gelato and The Giants bring joyful play list to new Covent Garden jazz club

The QT Club in Great Queen Street opened last year

Friday, 18th March — By Dan Carrier

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Ray Gelato was a regular at Ronnie Scott’s

THE sound of a trio of horns, zooming up down melodic scales and twisting harmonies together, conjures up not just memories of pre-lock down gigs we have missed, but transports the listener back decades to a time when musical virtuosos worked in what today would be called a purely analog form.

In other words, they are masters of both their instruments and their material.

Such praise can be deservedly showed on Ray Gelato and his band The Giants – a group of swing, jazz and big band musos who are bringing a joyful play list to a new jazz club in Covent Garden.

The QT, in a suitably dark basement in Great Queen Street, was established late last year and has a residency by the great saxophonist Leo Green and his band, who appear on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

As the club has carved a reputation, it has expanded – and this means bringing in the legendary Ray Gelato in for Wednesday night sessions.

Ray’s band have form. Regulars at Ronnie Scotts over the years, they specialise in both recreating the big swung sound but giving it a contemporary twist.

Ray’s self penned numbers, which range from his thoughts on what makes Soho’s Little Italy great to how he likes his Italian food, bring a freshness to a set that is also littered with some of the great standards of the genre: hearing him belt out such songs as Amore – played at double the speed of the Dean Martin version – and Americano show both his vocal brilliance but also his dexterity on the sax.

The same has to be said of the drummer Steve Rush, who has been playing with Imelda May for the past eight years, and lifted the roof off with his solo in the 1946 Desi Amaz song Cuban Pete.

Ray’s is a sound that has longevity – that some of the numbers were written decades ago and are still so rich is a testament to the quality of the play list.

We are treated to a couple of Louis Prima numbers, including a finale of Ray’s own take on the famous Giggolo / I Ain’t Got No Body, which offers both a chance for Ray to explore his classic vocal range, but once again gives his horn section the chance to chip in once more with three part backing vocals.

The QT Club, entered through the beautiful foyer of the Eight Hotel, reveals itself to be the perfect venue for such a performance.

With a nice sound system, a great bar and a menu of both cocktail soaking nibbles and more substantial meals, this new venue – it opened in October – provides an atmospheric experience that all could Jazz clubs live or die by.

Ray Gelato and his band provide both musical experience that will take you into a world where double bass, drums, keyboards and a rocking horn section work in absolute such co-ordination you couldn’t slip semi-quaver between the, and whose co-ordinated dance routines and soaring harmonies will leave you with a grin you won’t want to wipe off for days afterwards.

Ray Gelato is appearing on 23 March at QT Presents The Green Room.

Tickets for QT Presents…. Ray Gelato are priced at £20, £25, £35 and £45. One party booth for ten guests is also available for £300. Bookings can be made at www.middleeight.com/qt-bar/qt-presents

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