Tully Takes The Prize To Ronnie's

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 Nigel

What better way to celebrate the conferring of an honour than to invite a crowd of chums to Ronnie Scott's and then to offer them the company of great musicians and ply them with plentiful food and wine while they wait to greet you? These generous preliminaries preceded the arrival in the club last Friday of Nigel Tully MBE, hot-footing it from the Palace, with distinguished spouse Professor Deborah Cunningham on his arm, medal in hand, and with a smile that lit up the room.

Nigel spoke touchingly of his desire to share his good fortune with the jazz world at large. He then cited his own engagement with music as both player and enthusiast before adding a song with perfect accompaniment by pianist Nikki Iles, tenorist Tim Garland's coda his own special gift. An impromptu display of genius from solo guitarist Martin Taylor followed ahead of chanteuse Tina May's heartfelt set, with Frank Griffith on clarinet and bassist Simon Woolf at the piano. Earlier, the specially assembled line-up of Alex Garnett (as), Alex Ridout (t), Garland, Chelsea Carmichael (bs), Iles (p), Nick Fitch (g), Adam King (b) and Shane Forbes (d) had given us such a rousing display of exuberance, creativity and, yes, humour, that one would have wished it never to stop.

Ex-IBM executive, long-time leader of the Dark Blues function band, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and now Executive Chairman of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Nigel has more than earned his musical spurs and fully deserves all the recognition that has come his way. Bravo and thanks, Nigel.

– Peter Vacher
– Photo by Carl Hyde