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New Jazz Cafe owner: '£3m investment helps support Camden's cultural heritage'

PUBLISHED: 08:35 18 April 2016 | UPDATED: 08:35 18 April 2016

Jazz Cafe in Parkway Camden Town

Jazz Cafe in Parkway Camden Town

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The new boss at an iconic Camden Town music venue has said a £3million investment will be a boost to the borough's cultural heritage.

Jazz Cafe boss Steve BallJazz Cafe boss Steve Ball

The Jazz Cafe closed suddenly in February after it was bought by entertainment company The Columbus Group.

Just two months earlier it had celebrated its 25th anniversary, having hosted numerous renowned artists including Amy Winehouse, Gil Scott-Heron, D’Angelo – who recorded a live album there – Bobby Womack and Roy Ayres.

It is set to reopen on May 24 after an extensive refurbishment.

Director Steve Ball told the Ham&High: “The Jazz Cafe was an institution but it had fallen on hard times.

Souls singer Andrew Roachford performing at the Jazz Cafe's 25th anniversary event in December (Picture: Dave Burke)Souls singer Andrew Roachford performing at the Jazz Cafe's 25th anniversary event in December (Picture: Dave Burke)

“It hasn’t had any love for a significant period of time.

“We were over the moon when we got to acquire the building, but it had to be closed done.”

Mr Ball, who lives in Camden Town, said that it is important to support live music venues.

“It’s a good news story for Camden, you hear about so many venues closing down,” he said.

“It’s our cultural heritage being eroded.”

The extensive work, which Mr Ball said is “going well”, has seen the layout of the venue changed, with a central bar scrapped in favour of bars around the outside.

The owner said: “Sometimes you’d have people like (soul and jazz great) Terry Callier playing and you’d hear the barman throwing ice in glasses, it wasn’t perfect.

“We’ve not changed the fundamentals of the space, what we’ve done it bring the building back to its bare bones and started again.

“People don’t see how tarnished a venue is when they go in at night, but when you see it by day you get an idea.”

Mr Ball said the venue would contine to book, jazz, soul, blues and hip hop artists, with an intention of balancing established acts with newcomers.

“It feels like the music industry has been waiting for someone to come along and put a bit of love into the Jazz Cafe.”

Among the artists booked for the opening fortnight are Pantha Du Prince, Dave Harrington, Dam Funk, Egyptian Lover, Portico, Pete Josef.

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