Lauren Dalrymple celebrates 18 Years of the SoFF Music Jam in Brixton

Dynamic jazz singer Lauren Dalrymple has hosted her SoFF Music Jam for nearly two decades at The Effra Hall Tavern (aka The Effra), a cosy Victorian pub in Brixton, South London. One of the longest running jazz jams in London, she's retained a loyal following as well as nurtured new talent by offering them a way into the sometimes intimidating London jazz scene. Over the years the house band has included many top level players such as drummer Robert Fordjour (Courtney Pine), bassists Karl Rasheed-Abel (Laura Mvula) and Neville Malcolm (Billy Cobham, Gabrielle, Tom Jones etc) as well as pianists Robert Mitchell, Chris Jerome and Alex Hutton among many others. The jam often features hard-swinging bop, soulful jazz-funk and vocal jazz performed in a uniquely eclectic atmosphere of diverse local listeners and hard-core jazz fans, aspiring amateur players and worldly-wise professionals – all uniting around the chance to play and listen to the music they love in an accommodating space. Ahead of the jam's 18th birthday night on 9 April, Dalrymple spoke to Mike Flynn about the history and staying-power of this eternally swinging night

How did the SoFF music jam start?

I was running jam sessions and performing by the time I brought my jam session to Brixton in 1999. I found The Effra because I sat in on a gig after being taken by another singer. After that performance the owner asked me what I could do for the venue. I explained that a jam would encourage a steady flow of talent and audiences. We kicked it off in the April of that year. At that time, I had a small (miniscule) organisation called SEG: Sistah Entertainment Group with a newsletter, but the name allowed people to think it was just for women or even just black women. I changed the name to represent me and the thing that I was told would keep me from singing successfully. Sistahs of the Fuller Figure Music: SoFF Music. I named it with a couple of other big girls who since enjoy a smaller frame. I'm keeping my sound and the jam as BIG as a Fuller Figured Sistah!

What are the key ingredients to a good jazz jam night?

The house band and host must be able to keep the entertainment flowing because with a jam you don't who will turn up or indeed if anyone will at all. You've got to be able to keep the audience happy and there must be an "ego-less" enthusiasm to share your talent with both audience and whomever is ready to perform. (Lemon-infused water between songs helps too)

What advice would you give to young musicians, or those taking their first steps into jazz, any dos and don'ts?

Again a willingness to share your talent without ego; "give and take" is mega important. You will learn from others but in turn you will also teach as they have the opportunity to listen to you. Long selfish solos are nobody's friend and you can't hear anyone else if you are the only one "showboating " and making "noise" rather than making music.

As things progressed did the word spread about the jam – and did it help attract more high-calibre musicians?

Well as I had mentioned before when SoFF was still SEG, I had a newsletter that advertised in the initial stages of the jam being in Brixton. I got the word out by word of mouth and inviting patrons to spread the word and join a mailing list, which admittedly was a weak one. We were still in the days of no social media. The community gave me, the band and the gig major props and continued to support us. We help them (the community) with their out of town guests, birthdays, Mother's Day, even Christmas!

When I first visited the jam back in 2006 Robert Mitchell was playing piano in the house band – who are some of the people who've come through the Effra who've gone on to great things since?

I believe at least three members of the jazz-funk band, J-Sonics met at the SoFF Music Jazz Jam Session in Brixton. Trumpeter Jay Phelps was a regular and Empirical members Nathaniel Facey and drummer Shane Forbes (from age17). Shane paid me a compliment when I told him how proud I was of them, (Jay, Nathaniel & Shane) saying: "Auntie (my nickname) back in the day we didn't have gigs, your gig was our gig". In fact, they are the reason I got my nickname. In West Indian/African culture an older woman would get that respect... standard! I was 27, they were 17. Passers through have included 'bone master Dennis Rollins, saxophonist Tony Kofi, guitarists Robin Banerjee and Cameron Pierre and MOBO award winners such as pianist Zoe Rahman and saxophonist and hip-hop stylist Soweto Kinch.

For me the greatest thing about the nights at the jam at The Effra over the years is how it draws together the local community and how supportive the atmosphere is. Is this local focus an important part of the jam's success?

The local community is the audience. SoFF Music prides itself on treating them with the utmost respect and serving them with different 'special occasion gigs', like the jam's 18th birthday party on 9th April 2017. We always celebrated ourselves and the success of the gig but that means we celebrate the support of the community audience and treat them to top quality entertainment (and the odd prize giveaway and audience participation). The great thing is we have a global community too. I touched upon the fact that the local community bring their friends, family and out of town guests to see us, so we have audience members from France, Germany, Australia, China, Canada, Argentina and beyond. These people have all revisited and continue to email me to find out if the jam is on. They never let us down so we, SoFF Music and me will continue to raise them up! Love, peace and hair grease! The SoFF a.k.a. Lauren Dalrymple.

The SoFF Music Jam's 18th birthday night is on 9 April 2017 – for more info visit www.facebook.com/Soffmusic/

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBLE and Theon Cross Trio unite Chicago and London for International Anthems

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBL…

Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago's...

Read More.....
The Write Stuff adds new qualification for young writers aged 18-25

The Write Stuff adds new qualification f…

This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for...

Read More.....
Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New single from Wayne Shorter produced seven-piece Holophonor

Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New s…

Fast emerging US progressive jazz seven-piece Holophonor are set to...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees …

  The nominees for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been...

Read More.....
John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack was one of those figures who seem to...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for Jazz Voice’s tenth anniversary at EFG London Jazz Festival

Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for…

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Plays Ravel

Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Pl…

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orchestra for Turner Sims autumn/winter programme

Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orche…

Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Innovation showcase – video preview

Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Inn…

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will...

Read More.....
Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Events on tour

Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Event…

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this...

Read More.....
Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Brighton's Duke of York

Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Br…

  Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema...

Read More.....
A show of hands for percussion legend Giovanni Hidalgo at Jazz Cafe

A show of hands for percussion legend Gi…

Some of the UK's leading percussionists will be gathering at...

Read More.....
Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen may have been two against...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ottignon added to EFG London Jazz Fest 25th anniversary Line-Up

Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ot…

This year's momentous 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....
Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltrane hit silver screen

Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltr…

  September can be a quiet month for music fans, after...

Read More.....
Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Pro…

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating...

Read More.....
Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South…

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief...

Read More.....
Obituary: Sue Steward

Obituary: Sue Steward

One of Songlines' founding contributing editors, and Jazzwise writer, Sue...

Read More.....
John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

The final two recordings by guitarist John Abercrombie for the...

Read More.....
Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go supernova with the Jimi Hendrix Songbook

Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go superno…

Rising star guitarist Mansur Brown and exciting drummer Yusef Dayes...

Read More.....
Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get Canary Wharf Jazz Fest moving

Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get C…

The Canary Wharf Jazz Festival has been successfully putting on...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’

Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Danc…

Emerging UK sax talent Sam Braysher releases his intimate new...

Read More.....
Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get Gaume grooving

Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get …

  When Get the Blessing call for audience participation, they're startled...

Read More.....
Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

The combined festival and summer school in Sligo have had...

Read More.....
Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue Prospers

Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue…

  (Pianist Jason Rebello guests on the Talking Heads stage with...

Read More.....
Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse at The Verdict

Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse …

  'Crossover' is a word much employed by critics when talking...

Read More.....
Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelheim's artist-in-residence

Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelh…

Jazz Middelheim is a great jazz fest situated in front...

Read More.....
Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruket light up Ystad Jazz Fest

Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruke…

Now in its eighth year the Ystad Jazz Festival (not...

Read More.....
Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Music kicking

Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Musi…

This year's edition of the London Festival of Korean Music...

Read More.....
Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' – Video Exclusive

Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' –…

  Clap your pies on this vid exclusive from award-winning London...

Read More.....
Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Moldejazz Pack

Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Mo…

Flying north-west from Oslo on a propeller aeroplane, the first...

Read More.....
Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Dream At Manchester Jazz Fest

Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Drea…

Joshua Redman (top), looking super svelte in suit and dicky...

Read More.....
Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and the Ancestors get Jazz à Juan jumping

Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and…

After the terrible events on the Promenade des Anglais on...

Read More.....
Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awa…

This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards will take place on 10...

Read More.....
Wayne Shorter Goes Large At Gent Jazz Jamboree

Wayne Shorter Goes Large At Gent Jazz Ja…

As expected, the Gent Jazz Festival performs its characteristic trick...

Read More.....
Buck Clayton Legacy Band bounce with Billie at Pizza

Buck Clayton Legacy Band bounce with Bil…

There's said to be a minor resurgence in swing in...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Chris Barber Big Band keeps on swinging at Cardogan Hall https://t.co/Ygj2f5Jh0L https://t.co/SEUY5VwCwS
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@frozenreeds and by the time you've seen Shabaka Hutchings for the 50th time you might want to do someone damage wi… https://t.co/zwjzscsQ1W
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA