Herne Hill in south London, an increasingly bijou area not far from Tulse Hill and Streatham with the lovely Brockwell Park a popular local amenity and lots of new cafes and boutiques opening up in recent years, is to have its very own jazz venue in 10 days’ time with Jazz on the Hill starting up.

Billed as a “new jazz venue in south London", it opens not long after Streatham’s Hideaway which opened its doors successfully in 2010 and has expanded greatly since, a very hard act to follow.

Kicking off on 29 June with a free entry day and what owner Tony Dyett and the team are dubbing “three days of great jazz to celebrate the best of live jazz in London", the venue located at 214-216 Railton Road, London SE24, offers Caribbean cuisine, cocktails with lunch, dinner and available.

The opening programme includes the Damon Brown Quartet (29 June), The Simon Spillett All-Stars (30 June) and the Dave O’Higgins Septet (1 July)
Dave O’Higgins Septet

Stephen Graham

Pictured: Dave O’Higgins

A concert by Nat King Cole’s younger brother Freddy Cole in late-2010 for me was one of the most enjoyable and unexpected gigs I’d been to in years. Cole, it doesn’t really bother him, had just reprised performing as the voice of his brother Nat on the marvellous animated feature film Chico and Rita.

And at this particular concert playing piano and singing on the small stage of the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho’s Dean Street, sometimes standing at a separate microphone, accompanied by the band, he was settling down for a couple of nights. 

Since then he’s been back in London round the corner at Ronnie Scott’s and he’s back there tonight and tomorrow. Definitely a case of do yourself a favour and get down.

When he’s off stage, Cole told me during a break that night at the Pizza, he likes to play golf and take things easy. And maybe he was following the US Open on TV at the weekend.

Onstage golf couldn’t be further from his mind and he brings to life some very old songs by some very hip people, like Billy Eckstine and really knows how to do the lovely Eckstine song ‘Pretty One’. At Ronnie’s he’s with the same band I saw that night, guitarist Randy Napoleon, drummer Curtis Boyd and Elias Bailey on the bass.

Stephen Graham

Freddy Cole, pictured