Croydon’s jazz fans are feeling at home in The Front Room

Jazz has returned to central Croydon, with regular lunchtime concerts finding a new venue, as JOHN CHAMBERS explains

Having a blast: saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos at the Front Room

For more than 20 years, a hard core of around 30 jazz fans used to meet at the Clocktower Café every Thursday lunchtime.

But then lockdown closed us down in March last year.

In its wisdom, the council decided that when things began to open up in May and June this year, live music in the café was just too complicated to allow – problems with a music licence was one of the reasons given.

But in the end, nobody in charge wanted to take the decision to allow us to bring jazz back to the café.

So a small group of us looked around for a new venue, and made a wonderful discovery – The Front Room, a live music venue in St George’s Walk that none of us even knew existed.

With the help and support of Sam, the venue’s director, we put on the first lunchtime show on August 12 with Alan Barnes, one of the country’s leading alto sax players, Simon Wallace, a superb keyboard player, and Andrew Cleyndert, a brilliant bass player.

Settling in: Steve Waterman, Andrew Cleyndert and Ted Beament look at home in The Front Room

Since then we’ve had around dozens of jazz fans giving us a visit, with numbers growing each week, and we’ve had a total of 18 top musicians entertaining us.

The venue has comfortable seating, superb acoustics and is just a friendly place to catch the best jazz in town, playing great compositions from the American Songbook, mostly familiar standards to our regular jazz fans.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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