Gone But Not Forgotten

Hammersmith Palais on short-list of UK's most important jazz venues


            Picture: Urban75

             Picture: Urban75

Brecon Jazz Festival


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The Hammersmith Palais has been named as one of the key venues to have played a significant role in the development of jazz in the UK.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' album, the Brecon Jazz Festival has begun an annual scheme to celebrate venues and locations in the UK that have played host to seminal jazz performances and proved pivotal to the development of jazz in this country.

Each year, Brecon Jazz says it will hold a public vote and then place a specially-commissioned blue plaque on the exterior of the winning venue, or a building near where it stood, in recognition of its historical importance.

The Palais, which began its life as the Hammersmith Palais de Danse, was a local entertainment venue from 1919 – 2007.

Despite a campaign to keep the venue open, the Palais lost its fight for survival in 2007 when Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved proposals by property developers to knock it down and turn it into an office block.

Cllr Nicholas Botterill said at the time: “We recognise that some people will have fond memories of the golden era at The Hammersmith Palais, but sadly that golden era is now long gone." 

In the 1970s, the Palais was immortalised by The Clash, with their song 'White Man in Hammersmith Palais'.

Bands who have played at the venue include James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, U2, Talking Heads, David Bowie, The Cure, The Specials and The Clash.

As well as the Hammersmith Palais, other venues on this year's Brecon Jazz short-list include the London Hippodrome, Ronnie Scotts, Club Eleven – and Buckingham Palace. Jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet played at the royal residence during command performances for George V between 1919 and 1932.

The venue to be awarded a blue plaque will be announced on the opening day of the jazz festival in Brecon, Powys on Friday.

August 4, 2009