Esther Marrow live at Ronnie Scott's Club 1972

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with
Kenny Barron, piano, RMI electric piano
Daryl Runswick, bass guitar
John Marshall, drums

Dock of the Bay
by Otis Redding                                

It's Your Thing
by Ronald Isley                               

Rainy Night in Georgia
by Tony Joe White                            

And When I Die
by Laura Nyro                                 

I was booked, in 1971, by Pete King of Ronnie Scott's Club, to accompany a singer whose name I didn't recognise. That was my omission: Esther Marrow (I'm happy to have found a picture of her exactly as she looked in those days) had sung in Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts and was the real deal. What's more, on this occasion she brought with her from New York as her keyboard player the already-in-1972-famous, today-legendary, Kenny Barron. The last serendipitous piece of the jigsaw fell into place when Pete booked John Marshall as our drummer.

Kenny Barron was as good a musical director as I've ever worked for, telling us the minimum by instruction, the maximum by example. He wanted a simple (basic if you like, but that misses the subtlety of it) down-home soul groove, something his current fans might be surprised to know he can supply in spades. John and I just fitted in and had two weeks of a ball. Richard Williams in his review of the residency in Melody Maker said 'Aspiring rock musicians should come and learn from Marshall and Runswick' – one of my treasured notices.

Esther Marrow was the 'undercard' at Ronnie's that fortnight. The main act was Stan Getz, and he was recording a live album. My hero George Martin was the record producer (I'd already worked for him as a player on numerous occasions). Somebody asked George whether, as a favour, he'd record one of Esther's sets: which he did, on the understanding that he couldn't move the microphones he'd carefully put in place for Stan Getz: he'd leave them where they were, turn on the tape and we'd have to accept whatever came out. And this is what came out – a very rough and unpolished sound, unkind to Esther, but giving, I hope, a flavour of the delights punters were regaled with for those twelve short evenings.

Recorded live at Ronnie Scott's Club, 17.3.71


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