The Independent London Newspaper
18th November 2017

It’s Ray Gelato – he’s here to stay

    Ray Gelato plays the classics and his own compositions at Ronnie Scott’s

    It took saxophonist and swing band frontman Ray Gelato a long time to fulfil his personal ambition of appearing at Ronnie Scott’s – but once he’d pushed his tenor sax through the door, he made himself at home.
    The singer is gearing up this week for a Christmas residency, but it wasn’t always so easy to get on the stage at the legendary jazz venue. “I used to queue up to hassle [the owner] Pete King to give me a gig,” recalls Ray, who fronts a seven-piece band.
    “He wouldn't book me. And when I did eventually persuade him, he gave me shows in the first week in January – the worst week in the calendar to do a gig.”
    Yet Ray’s bubbly stage persona and brilliant band meant King and the rest of Scott’s quickly woke up to him and told him he could have a spot through December – as a support act.
    “I played George Melly through his Christmas gigs,” says Ray. When Melly passed away, Ray was on hand to take over the Christmas residency, and now is in his fourth year of a December session.
    His repertoire is packed with the classics – as well as a few compositions of his own. But above all, he says, the gigs are about fun. “This is simply about spreading happiness,” he says. “It has taken me some time to get to do it at Ronnie’s, but I am there now.”
    DAN CARRIER

    • Ray Gelato plays at Ronnie Scott’s Frith Street, Soho,
    from December 14 to New Year’s Eve. 020 7439 0747

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