Restaurant to present Lost Jazz photo exhibition

A Scots restaurant is to host an exhibition of the jazz photography and print graphics of John Claridge in celebration of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, running till August 31.

Le Roi Fou (the mad king), was opened in 2017 by chef proprietor, Jérôme Henry, and creative director, Isolde Nash, bringing together a love of food, images and the printed word with all the character of a neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh’s vibrant New Town.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival plays host to the finest jazz and blues talent from all corners of the globe. Since its inception in 1978, the festival has grown to become the largest of its kind in Britain.

This year, the festival will see over 170 live music acts that will cover everything from the early days of jazz to the best of the current music scene.

John Claridge is a British photographer, known for his long and prolific career in black and white street photography and portraiture, especially in the Gorbals, London’s East End and Soho, and ambitious, often glamorously exotic shoots for ad campaigns during the golden age of advertising in the 70s, 80s and 90s. This will be his first solo exhibition in Scotland.

Claridge started buying jazz records aged 13, and it remained a lifetime obsession. 20 years later, Claridge set up a darkroom in his flat on Frith Street in Soho, above the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and began shooting the Jazz Musicians series. Prints include portraits of Kenny Burrell, George Coleman and Pharoah Sanders as well as Ronnie Scott himself and a rare print version of Claridge’s famous portrait of Chet Baker.

Le Roi Fou will be showing prints from two series of Claridge’s work, Lost Jazz and Jazz Musicians. Lost Jazz is a collection of graphic epitaphs to departed jazz heroes. Prints in the collection include Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk and Clifford Brown. This will be the first public showing of Lost Jazz.

Creative director of Le Roi Fou, Isolde Nash said: ‘I’m delighted that the first of our shows at Le Roi Fou is with the legendary photographer, John Claridge, and it is a fitting way to celebrate Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Jazz for Claridge is such a huge passion – he told me that living above Ronnie Scott’s was incredibly noisy, but he didn’t mind the sleep deprivation at all. To see his image of Chet Baker first-hand is an unforgettable experience.’

John Claridge added: ‘Chet Baker came in one night in 1986, and I asked him if I could do a couple of shots before he went on. I said: “I’ve got to tell you, when I was 13, I bought the Chet Baker Quartet record with Winter Wonderland on it. Russ Freeman was the pianist…” And Chet said, “Yeah, he was, in 1953.” He just stopped and stared, going back through his memory. And that’s when I took the picture.’

Works on display at the Le Roi Fou Exhibition (all works are for sale):

Jazz Musicians series: 7 framed giclée editioned prints, including a rare AP version of Claridge’s famous portrait of Chet Baker, as well as portraits of Ronnie Scott, Kenny Burrell, George Coleman, Pharoah Sanders, Lol Coxhill and Moses Sebaduka.

Lost Jazz series: 4 framed giclée editioned prints from the series: Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Clifford Brown and Solitude (for Frank Haynes).

In 2018, the Association of Photographers included Claridge in its 50th anniversary exhibition of some the world’s most respected photographers; his work is held in the collections of the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Modern Art and he has won over 700 awards.

John Claridge now lives with his wife, Janet, in Najac, France.

The exhibition will be open for everyone to visit during the restaurant’s opening hours, with an opening vernissage event on Monday 15 July from 5-7pm.

Le Roi Fou is located at 1 Forth Street in Edinburgh, EH1 3JX. For more information visit,