On Saturday 8 March 1941, two bombs crashed through the ceiling of the Café de Paris, killing jazz band leader and dancer Ken “Snakehips” Johnson, along with his saxophonist Dave “Baba” Williams and at least 30 others. Snakehips was leader of the legendary West Indian Orchestra, recognised at the time as one of the top jazz and swing groups in the country, and the resident band at the fashionable London club from 1940.
On Tuesday 8 March, BBC TV’s The One Show marked the 75th anniversary of this tragic event with a piece featuring Cerys Matthews and music journalist and broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre. Playing Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh – reputedly the song the band was playing as the bomb hit – was our very own Gary Crosby (double bass), Nubya Garcia (tenor sax), Ben Burrell (piano) and Sam Jones (drums) performing as The Jazz Salon house band.
Thanks to Cerys Matthews and all at The One Show for giving us the opportunity to get involved in celebrating the life of Snakehips Johnson!
In case you missed it on the night, you can tune into The One Show via the BBC iPlayer (starts around 21:50)
Don’t forget you can catch our next The Jazz Salon with Kevin Le Gendre, Gary Crosby and his fabulous musicians on the last Friday of the month at Foyles flagship London store on Charing Cross Road. The next session on Friday 25 March features broadcaster and Jazz FM presenter Helen Mayhew discussing our love of listening to jazz while we eat!