Jazz writer and musician Jack Massarik has died aged 74


Highly respected jazz journalist and musician Jack Massarik, who was recently diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, died on 13 July aged 74. One of the music press’s genuine characters and a font of jazz tales dating back decades, Jack was a leading jazz critic for over 40 years, including 35 years of continuous reportage for the London Evening Standard, and a much valued and loved contributor to Jazzwise magazine for over 12 years.


Jack, who was born in Stafford in May 1940, was a jazzer from the start: first on piano then adding alto sax while studying in Manchester where he played with future blues legend John Mayall, then just starting out. He returned to the gigging scene in London and briefly led a piano trio with bassist Malcolm Cecil and drummer Alan Rushton before moving to guitar in the 1980s where he worked with vibist Bill LeSage and pianist Geoff Castle.

When Jack informed me of his condition in late June he had a message for readers in his own inimitable style: “I carry bad news, or perhaps not, for readers of my work in Jazzwise magazine. It seems that my life expectancy has been reduced from 10 years to three months. There I was thinking I was being treated for long-term diabetes when my GP suggested a hospital scan. This has revealed advanced cancer of the pancreas, liver and gut. An inoperative condition, but one which might allow me to sketch highlights of my 50 years in the jazz trenches, a time of the music’s greatest triumphs and toughest battles for economic survival.”

Sadly Jack’s condition was already too severe and it proved one copy deadline too far. He will be greatly missed.

– Jon Newey

– Photo by Ben Amure



 

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