Seen anti-fascist period drama Ridley Road on TV? I'd recommend the drama based on Jo Bloom's 2014 novel, especially if you are a Stephen Poliakoff fan, as the style is very much influenced by the great TV dramatist. As for the real locale and bringing things up to date Dalston in London, home to the eponymous Ridley Road market, is one of the top jazz neighbourhoods, possibly the best of all in terms of young often experimentally-inclined jazz musicians surfacing for the first time and certainly the only one really to rival the historic heart of jazz in the UK, Soho, for jazz. That's because the area is home to the Vortex, Cafe Oto, Servant Jazz Quarters (unfortunately hit by flash flooding again recently) and The Dalston Jazz Bar, all within metres of the Ridley Road market.
Other venues also nearby are also significant in contributing to the area's substantial appetite for jazz aided in recent years by the easier transport particularly the Overground train links that connect south-east London much better to this part of east London certainly far more than a few decades ago. As for the street itself, foodies: try the curry available halfway up on the left if approaching from the Kingsland Road. A very busy daytime market there is huge vitality and activity here and a calmer feel envelops the street as afternoon fades into evening. Jazz these days on the Ridley Road market itself does take place but there's nothing at the moment although given the area's great ability to create new endeavours that may change. There was a scene not that long ago at the Market Bar. Let's hope that venue resumes its programming.
Several gig-goers I have met recently in Dalston loved the Ridley Road Market Bar scene and advised me to check the venue out some time. They specificially drew my attention to the time when the fine free-jazz-&-AfroCuban-influenced trumpeter Loz Speyer excellent on the upcoming Open Territory used to play and I keep hearing good things about his residency there. Club scene action in the Sarah Solemani drama which is set in the 1960s, aka ''the Castaway'', was filmed not in London but in Manchester at the heart of the city's current jazz scene in the Northern Quarter's Tib Street because grass roots spot Matt and Phred's is located there. Back to Dalston check out the cover artwork of Hannes Riepler's excellent 2016 album Wild Life issued on Dom Sales' Jellymould Jazz label and which has the real Ridley Road Market depicted on it. SG
Vivien Epstein (Agnes O’Casey) and Soly Malinovsky (Eddie Marsan), top, in Ridley Road. Photo: Ben Blackall/BBC