Ever since his first visits in the late nineties to New York’s many jam sessions, Junior Laniyan had always felt that London needed its own forum for tap dancers to play with live musicians. But it wasn’t until early 2006 while at a basement club in Leicester Square that Junior saw a potential venue for an event. And as a result of pulling in the talents of Melody Lander and Dan Sheridan in June of that year at Oxygen Bar, the first London Tap Jam was held. Due to the support of the London tap community and original Bebop Hoofer Will Gaines, the event was a bigger success than the team expected. They realised that the jam had the potential to be a regular event, but they also knew they would need a bigger venue for it to work.
A few months later deep in the heart of Soho, the team discovered Digress Soho, which was to become London Tap Jam’s home on a bi-monthly basis for the next two and a half years. Over that time, they were visited by high-profile international tap dancers including Roxane Butterfly and Heather Cornell who’ve pledged their support to the event. As the jam became more successful, they were able to support the tap dance community by providing subsidised workshops as well as hosting a special one-off Jam session at London’s Southbank Centre as part of the late Will Gaines’ 80th birthday celebrations.
In 2009 London Tap Jam was approached by Ronnie Scott’s, and asked to consider moving to the recently refurbished Ronnie’s Bar. Their support enabled the jam to become a regular monthly event, and since the move, they’ve been able to welcome back Roxane Butterfly and Heather Cornell, and also receive Guillem Alonso, Josh Hilberman, Lee Howard, Andrew Nemr, Max Pollak and Lisa La Touche.
In 2016, Ronnie's Bar started to move away from live events, so London Tap Jam, with new host Jess Murray, sought out a new home. Deciding to move out East to the hip bars of Hoxton, they found Zigfrid von Underbelly, a lively bar with a stylish underground venue dedicated to live music. For the first time, London Tap Jam is the headline event at a popular London venue. With more space available, this can only lead to better things ahead for the jam!