You can’t fault their ambition – the team staging the first JazzUp night at Hitchin’s Club 85 on Sunday night say they want to make the venue the local alternative to fabled London jazz haunt Ronnie Scott’s.

The Comet: Ricky Spiller is on the bill at the launch night of JazzUp at Club 85 in Hitchin.Ricky Spiller is on the bill at the launch night of JazzUp at Club 85 in Hitchin. (Image: Archant)

Sax star Simon Spillett is in the spotlight for the first session, with Close To The Bone adding some musical muscle.

Close To Bone’s trombone titan Dave Keech says Simon’s talent is enough to make your jaw hit the floor, and the evening certainly won’t be providing smooth supper jazz sounds.

It’s the first time that jazz has been a feature focus at the fabled Whinbush Road venue, and organisers reckon that the time is right.

Robin Campbell, who has helped to put the package together, said: “It seems everyone is talking about jazz at the moment – its culture, style, and the amazing musicianship that is at its heart.

The Comet: Dave Keech is on the bill at the launch night of JazzUp at Club 85 in Hitchin. Picture by Ryan BedingfieldDave Keech is on the bill at the launch night of JazzUp at Club 85 in Hitchin. Picture by Ryan Bedingfield (Image: Ryan Bedingfield Photography)

“Films such as Whiplash, Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic Miles Davis and the Chet Baker film Born To Be Blue starring Ethan Hawke have ignited new interest in all things jazz.

“And it’s not all from across the pond – the late British sax man Tubby Hayes is featured in a new documentary produced by Paul Weller and narrated by Martin Freeman.”

Sunday’s first session is timed well for jazz fans, says Club 85 manager Bob Mardon - he reckons it’s the perfect night for soaking up the sounds as it’s a bank holiday and fans can have a lie-in after being blown away.

The planned regular nights will be hosted by Hitchin collective JazzUp, a team of Hitchin musicians and music aficionados consisting of well known faces such as experienced pro musician and music promoter Robin and Felix Camfield-Walker, whose hair salon in the town’s Hermitage Road has become a hub for all things stylish in both hair and music.

JazzUp has already hosted sell-out shows at venues such as The Priory, with stunning musicianship leaving the town buzzing.

Those expecting easy listening or elevator music at Club 85 will be disappointed. Felix says: “Look sharp - this is a night of uncompromising music, jazz of the take-no-prisoners variety bringing in jazz sounds ranging from swing, Latin, soul, boogaloo to funk. “There will be candlelit tables which you’ll find yourself pushing aside to get to the dancefloor.”

For the live music, the format takes its cue from the classic jazz clubs, with a high calibre house band backing speciality invited guest musicians.

Dave Keech’s Close To The Bone provides the musical muscle and consists of top level pro musicians all well-known in their own right. Dave himself is a Hitchin-based trombonist active in both recording and the UK gig scene and spent several years in Ray Gelato’s high-octane outfit touring all over the world, even appearing at Carnegie Hall, New York.

The first guest in the spotlight is sax Simon Spillett, whose sharp-suited virtuoso approach to the instrument will, according to Dave, “make you want to take up the sax if you don’t already play it, or give it up if you do. He’s a jaw-dropping player, not to be missed”.

It all kicks off at 7.45pm, with tickets £7 in advance from the venue or a string of other North Herts outlets – check for details, or check out this wegottickets link