Something of a stalwart at The Chesterfield Mayfair, John has been playing piano in the hotel’s Terrace Bar for just over two decades. Entertaining guests and locals alike with his solo performances, John also plays with the much-loved Chesterfield Jazz Band every Wednesday evening. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s Gin and Jazz experience, which mixes expertly made gin cocktails with live jazz. Here, the accomplished jazz pianist talks about his musical life, favourite local haunts and the post-show tipple he can’t resist.
How long have you been The Chesterfield’s jazz pianist?
“I’ve been playing here for just over 20 years. I started in 1997, having travelled the world performing in bars and restaurants. I studied music at the Royal Academy before moving to Australia for just under a decade, followed by a stint on cruise liners including the QE2 before finally settling in London.”
What makes The Terrace Bar such a great venue for live music?
“For me, The Terrace Bar perfectly encapsulates the spirit of an old-school jazz bar. Its décor, size and traditional British feel all help to create the ideal atmosphere. I also love the fact that we have such a varied audience which includes a wide range of ages from locals to tourists.”
What can we expect to hear from your set?
“It’s a real mix of jazz standards, which are my personal favourites, along with crowd-pleasers from the likes of Elton John and Billy Joel. We also manage to include some classical music along with a few original pieces written by me.”
What’s your favourite drink from the bar to enjoy after a performance?
“I’m a whisky lover and I would have to say that my current favourite is Balvenie Doublewood 12 Single Malt. The flavours are so rich and complex that it’s a wonderful drink to linger over.”
Aside from The Chesterfield, what are some of your favourite places to listen to live music in London?
“I love The Spice of Life in Soho; they have great live jazz and they do lunchtime sessions twice a week which means I can always pop in! I also like the 606 Club as it’s a great place to hear exciting up-and-coming artists. I’m often impressed by the jazz performers at The Archduke in Waterloo, which is located just behind the Southbank.”
Do you have any favourite spots in the local Mayfair area?
“I always recommend Shepherd’s Market for its great selection of interesting bars and restaurants. In particular, Shepherd Market Wine House is a charming wine bar, with a fantastic selection of wines by the glass.”
Watch John and The Chesterfield Jazz Band perform every Wednesday from 6pm at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Chesterfield Mayfair.
Image credits: all images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.