Nottingham Trent University Big Band
Tuesday 19th, November
Pianist Paul Deats, and Rachel Foster, vocalist set up Peggy's Skylight in August, 2018. Rachel explains some of how and why Peggy's came into being...
"I have been singing in Nottingham for 30 years. The last 20 have been with Paulus (nickname) we called ourselves Me and Mr Jones,(a while before Amy Winehouse wrote the song).
I also happen to have trained and worked as a chef in my youth. We wanted a platform in Nottingham where we have settled, for the talented of Nottingham and it's environs to play. We felt they deserved a space that was not the corner of a bar where the noise of the crowd overwhelmed the subtlety or tenderness of a given moment. We wanted a place for musicians to play what their hearts told them, rather than be given a brief (for example - "it has to be pop songs, but all Latin in style" Which to my mind is like asking Pavarotti to sing the 'Birdy song'? Therefore where does the music go? How will it survive or evolve?
Jazz is huge and wide as a category of music. There is often a misconception that jazz is high-brow and therefore inaccessible. The original source comes from the streets of the disadvantaged African Americans from the turn of the last century. It is constantly evolving, influencing and inspiring Soul, Hip Hop, R&B, Drum 'n Bass to name a few.
So , trying to cut this story short; we got a loan from a mortgage company and found the building..... put together the holes in the roof, some eclectic furniture, state of the art sound equipment, a pizza oven and kitchen equipment and a fully stocked bar, employed 17 staff and 10 months later won an award for best independent venue.
It's been a hell of a white knuckle journey but we always kept digging deeper into the dream....A Jazz club for Nottingham in the heart of the Midlands for it's people, for it's musicians.
Our Menu is inspired by a journey that the Jazz Ambassadors made to the Middle East in the 1960's, wondering what they might have eaten on tour.
That story in itself is so interesting; African Americans sent to convince people of those oil rich countries to chose democracy over the influences of neighbouring communist Russia. Another story that perhaps needs to be told given the divisions that we are experiencing in Britain and the west today.
I was brought up in Iran, pre revolution so I have a love of their food. At Peggy's we make our own ice creams trying to evoke some of those childhood flavour memories of rose or orange flower and cardamom.
I toured America with Weekend Players reached no 1 in the National Billboard dance chart and no 3 in the National Billboard Chart sitting next to Justin Timberlake and Madonna! I made a few Iranian friends in LA after speaking about my experience on KCRW Radio on their show, 'This morning becomes eclectic'. They were impressed that someone had said something positive about their country, it's people and it's culture
We now have a chef from Shiraz working for us. We're not just bread and ice cream. We have saffron rice and fresh herb-packed baked aubergine that melts like butter in the mouth. It's all made in house with fresh local ingredients.
We hope that we can continue to bring people together under Peggy's roof. It's not easy in this current economic climate but the people that come absolutely love what we do.
We already have an extensive list of Local, National and International acts that have played and are coming.
Don't just watch this space, come see for yourself and be part of the story."
Featuring stunning interiors moving from a 1930’s tea room at the shop front through to a Middle Eastern styled auditorium where vintage theatre seating sits alongside bespoke dining furniture dedicated to our customers comfort. Join us on a journey into sound and explore the variety that contemporary music can provide.
Our menu takes you on a culinary adventure too. Taking inspiration from Lebanon, North Africa and Cyprus, following in the footsteps of the Jazz Ambassadors and replicating some of the dishes they might have encountered on their travels.
So sit back, relax, and allow yourself to be immersed in an enchanting jazz adventure.
In the 1950s, Charles Mingus hung out with Allen Ginsberg and others at socialite Peggy Hitchcock’s upstate house in Manhattan, where Peggy had a skylight she wanted to replace with blue aircraft shield plastic. She wanted nothing less than a permanent blue sky to gaze upon.
Sadly, she was never allowed the building permit, so Mingus wrote her a consolation song and called it, “Peggy’s Blue Skylight.” After uncovering several skylights within the venue, we thought it was the perfect homage to Mingus’ composition.