At a time when it is more appropriate for all to avoid public places, I can only feel nostalgic about the amazing afternoon I spent a few weeks ago at Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club in London. Because the atmosphere was wonderful and only the joy of the musicians was then contagious.
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON invits you to cheer up a bit and discover a place full of positive energy that will -hopefully soon- celebrate jazz music without any fear of gathering people.
Toulouse Lautrec Wine Bar & Live Music Venue
Located in Lambeth (easily accessible by tube), Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club clearly stands out with its distinctive logo on the wall and large blue facade.
Inside, three options: either you go directly to the restaurant on the ground floor (where you will enjoy the artistic atmosphere of the venue with Toulouse Lautrec paintings on the walls and a good meal), or you let the music guide you to the second floor for its Piano Bar sessions, or also you can head to the third floor, where all concerts take place…
The concept of Toulouse Lautrec is to feature classy jazz, blues, musical theatre, cabaret & burlesque. A regular event is Dr.Sketchy Burlesque and Cabaret Life Drawing.
Toulouse Lautrec inspiration
Toulouse Lautrec venue opened in November 2008 and has been managed since then by two brothers: the Regent Brothers. Nolan runs the music part (Piano bar and Jazz Club), while Florent runs the restaurant and is the head Chef in the kitchen.
They chose Toulouse Lautrec as a name, in reference to this artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), who was commissioned by The Moulin Rouge to make a series of posters. Very familiar with Parisian nightclubs, the artist developed a new artistic style (illustrations), very personal and recognisable (I personally love how he depicted life and emotions with perfect accuracy). His works are now decorating the walls of the venue.
Nolan and Florent Regent were inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec because his social life was all about music, food and good company … exactly the kind of mix that the venue is promoting.
I came with my husband on a St Valentine’s afternoon, when Duke Street Big Band was planned. I did not know the band before, but really appreciated its performance on stage: the numerous musicians were all very committed and the joy of playing together was highly palpable…
The band’s gig, “Pick up the pieces”, was awesome: music (mixing jazz, funk and latin tunes about every aspect of love) and songs, were both well performed and the whole room was under the spell of this band!
The dynamism of the whole band and the excitement of the band leader were the most enjoyable surprise of that day!
With lots of love for jazz and a great sense of humor, this band is one of the best I’ve seen so far!
Duke Street Big Band 1
The Duke Street Big Band was founded in 2011, with the aim “to bring Jazz and big band music to a wider audience”. The band is used to playing at different venues across London, from The Crypt in Trafalgar Square, The Water Rats, The Dublin Castle to the Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club.
Duke Street Big Band 2
The singer, Talia Cohen, “has played at Ronnie Scott’s, Scala, the Hippodrome Casino and has worked with an array of musicians and producers recently including Turner Prize nominee James Richards”.
I can only be grateful we could hear her voice that day …
Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club tries to invite various jazz bands and promote “easily accessible jazz”.
In most of their shows they try to infuse other elements: “from Jazz approach to music of Nirvana, for example, or getting a harpist to play pop and gypsy jazz”. They have recently done a show “in which they recreated a scene when Ella Fitzgerald played at Zardi’s Jazz Club, to relive the experience (with a few actors in the audience)”.
I can hardly think of something more original! Check out their programme online (even if the events might obviously be all postponed to healthier days).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. Whenever you decide to go to Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club or attend a concert by The Duke Street Big Band, please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!