John Jack was one of those figures who seem to have always been on the London jazz scene, and it's hard to imagine it without him. Right up to his death he was a regular, with long-standing partner, Shirley (pictured above left with John, middle, and Jack Docherty, right), at the Vortex, where a tribute was recently given to him. Many of his close friends and colleagues attended to celebrate his life and contribution to the music, and John's friend of many years, Mike Westbrook, gave a solo piano performance dedicated to him. In response, John addressed the gathering, showing he had not lost any of his wit and sharpness, but also his warmth towards the people and the music in which he had spent his life.

Born on 25 May 1933 in Barnes, his interest in music came from his mother, an occasional singer in nightclub bands, and he bought his first 78s around 1947/8 from Shepherds Bush Market – Jelly Roll Morton's 'Dr.Jazz' and Pinetop Smith's 'Jumpsteady Blues' on Brunswick. John did National Service in the Army before embarking upon what might be described as a 'bohemian' existence in the 1950s. He painted, wrote, played in a skiffle group, trombone in a trad band (his regard for Bunk Johnson extended throughout his life), and travelled, at one point living in Paris and mixing with Beats such as Allen Ginsberg.

He worked as a salesman for several jazz labels in the late 1950s/early 60s: Colin Pomeroy's Jazz Collector, Emil Shallit's Melodisc, Doug Dobell's 77 Records and Carlo Krahmer's Esquire, and at Dobells Jazz Shop in London. Then came a turning point in British jazz when Ronnie Scott opened his new club in Frith Street, and John was asked by Pete King to run the Old Place in Gerrard Street, putting on the new generation of improvisers.

"It was a stroke of great fortune," he later recalled. "Pete said: 'Here John, you've got a club. You look after it. You get on with it. Here are the keys. Do what you want with it'. And they paid the rent and we got on with it. Not many people get that kind of luck."

He had it for its last 18 months, often assisted by his brother Roger, and it saw some of the most exciting players to come out of the jazz scene, including the South Africans who were based in London and with whom he forged a strong and lasting relationship, especially Dudu Pukwana, Harry Miller and his wife, Hazel. From that emerged the Jazz Centre Society, with a committee which initially included John, Charles Fox, Brian Blain and John Fordham. At first based at the 100 Club, it expanded to the Country Club and other venues. He also wrote a regular jazz column for Sounds.

Soon after, John formed Cadillac Music, starting with a Mike Westbrook release in 1973, on, as he described it, "the day VAT broke out" and it soon expanded to include the distribution of numerous independent labels. In the mid 1970s he worked from the basement of Collets Jazz Shop (later Ray's) in Shaftesbury Avenue, and Cadillac releases included those by George Lewis, Bruce Turner, Stan Tracey, the Christie Brothers Stompers, Bobby Wellins, Dudu Pukwana, Mike Osborne, Joe Harriott, Trevor Watts' Moiré Music, Ken Colyer & the Crane River Jazz Band, The Jazz Doctors (Billy Bang & Frank Lowe) and David Murray; it reflected John's wide appreciation of jazz styles, the constant factors for John being "improvisation, honest expression of emotion and creativity". Visitors to the basement ranged from Willem Breuker to Prince Buster, and although he was known for his explosive outbursts, it disguised John's generous and hospitable nature.

He finally wound down the distribution side in 2009 but kept Cadillac going. In his final few moments he was with Hazel Miller and friend/associate Mike Gavin listening to, appropriately, Bunk Johnson's 'A Closer Walk With Thee'. John joined Bunk on Thursday 7 September.

– Matthew Wright

Photo courtesy Mike Gavin

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition of Jazz Voice, the EFG London Jazz Festival's opening night vocal jazz extravaganza, at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday 10 November. Reaching across jazz, funk, soul and pop worlds British guest singers include acclaimed jazz vocalist Liane Carroll, soul-jazz singer Mica Paris, R&B singer Tony Momrelle and Incognito's lead vocalist Vanessa Hayes, chart topping vocalist Seal and charismatic Wes Coast Get Down bassist/singer Miles Mosley, who first gained global recognition for his Hendrix-style double bass playing as part of LA sax titan Kamasi Washington's band. All these names will be backed by composer/arranger Guy Barker's specially convened London Jazz Festival jazz orchestra, a 40-piece ensemble combining strings, brass section and core jazz group comprised of many of the UK's finest musicians. Watch this space for additional names to be added to the Jazz Voice line-up.

This show is one of over 300 taking place during the 10-day citywide festival, highlights of which include: Keith Tippett Octet with Matthew Bourne (Kings Place, 10 Nov), Michael Janisch Quartet with Rez Abbasi, Henry Spencer's Juncture, Zhenya Strigalev Trio (Rich Mix, 10 Nov); Tomasz Stańko's New York Quartet (Cadogan Hall, 10 Nov); Zakir Hussain's Crosscurrents with Dave Holland and Chris Potter (Barbican, 11 Nov); Andy Sheppard Quartet (Kings Place, 11 Nov); John Surman and John Warren's The Traveller's Tale (Kings Place, 12 Nov); Miles Mosley and the West Coast Get Down (Islington Assembly Hall, 12 Nov); Brad Mehldau/Chris Thile (Barbican, 12 Nov); Led Bib, Schnellertollermeier and WorldService Project (Rich Mix, 12 Nov); Marcus Miller (RFH, 12 Nov); Richard Pite's 1957: A Jazz Jukebox (Cadogan Hall, 12 Nov); Herbie Hancock (Barbican, 13-14 Nov); Knower (Scala, 13 Nov); Courtney Pine's Black Notes From The Deep (Bridge Theatre, 13 Nov); Trombone Shorty (Shepherd's Bush Empire, 13 Nov); Paolo Conte (RFH, 13 Nov); Abdullah Ibrahim/Hugh Masekela Jazz Epistles (RFH, 14 Nov); Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles (KOKO, 14 Nov); Jaimeo Brown's Transcendance (Rich Mix, 14 Nov); Justin Kauflin Trio plus Airelle Besson and Vincent Segal (Wigmore Hall, 16 Nov); Nik Bärtsch (Wigmore Hall, 17 Nov); Darcy-James Argue's Secret Society (Kings Place, 17 Nov); Jay Rayner's Quartet (Cadogan Hall, 17 Nov); Pharoah Sanders' Quartet, Denys Baptiste's The Late Trane band and Alina Bzhezhinska's Quartet with Tony Kofi (Barbican, 18 Nov) and Terrence Blanchard with the BBC Concert Orchestra (Barbican, 19 Nov), among many others. Jazzwise is media partner for the festival.

– Mike Flynn

Full listings and tickets at www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

Vein-Trio-2

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays Ravel, on Double Moon on 8 September – with acclaimed British saxophonist Andy Sheppard as the album's featured guest. The trio feaures twins, drummer Florian Arbenz and pianist Michael Arbenz with bassist Thomas Lähns, and has made a successful habit of working with high calibre horn horn players, including US saxophonists Dave Liebman and Greg Osby, with whom they've toured extensively.

Their latest recording sees the trio diving into the music the 20th century French composer, Maurice Ravel, to explore eight of his pieces that touch on the musical worlds of baroque, Spanish and jazz. These include Ravel's 'Le Tombeau de Couperin suite', 'Mouvement de Menuet' (from Sonatine), 'Blues' (from his Violin Sonata) and 'the 5 o'clock Foxtrot' (from the opera L'Enfant et les Sortilèges) which was influenced by his love of jazz and the salon music of the time.

Commenting on working with VEIN, Andy Sheppard said: ""It was great to find myself deep in the Vein world participating in their wonderful reimagining of Maurice Ravel - the band has real momentum, direction and passion for the music. Onwards and upwards, Maurice lives !"

Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.vein.ch

Jazzwise is pleased to present an exclusive first look at the video for 'Forlane'



Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of top UK and international names lining up for its 2017 autumn/ winter schedule. Chief among these will be a concert by revered British composer/trombonist Mike Gibbs (top left) as he celebrates his 80th birthday year, where he will conduct an all-star 18-piece band made up of the cream of British jazz talent on 29 September.

The strong bookings continue with Brel, Ferre and Piaf songs from chanteuse Ute Lemper (16 Sept); fast emerging Luxembourg piano/bass/drum threesome Reis/ Demuth/Wiltgen Trio (6 Oct); jazz-edged electronica group Portico Quartet (13 Oct); swinging Texas trio Hot Club of Cowtown on their 20th anniversary tour (28 Oct); and a riot of freeform music making from renowned Dutch improvisers ICP Orchestra (above right, 31 Oct).

The excellent bookings continue into the autumn and early part of 2018 with numerous highlights including resurgent tenor titan Deny Baptise (top) and his powerful The Late Trane project (3 Nov); new music from the Andy Sheppard Quartet as they play material from his forthcoming ECM album, Beyond The Dancing Sun (10 Nov); the fiery beat-laden sounds from trumpet star Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah and his top-notch band (16 Nov); emerging US piano sensation Aaron Diehl Trio (24 Nov); the suave post-bop and swing of Darius Brubeck (21 Dec); sax'n'drum demons Binker & Moses (12 Jan 2018); the 10th anniversary tour of Brit-jazz powerhouse Beats & Pieces Big Band (20 Jan 2018) and the finely poised classical/ electronica influenced music of Trish Clowes' My Iris band (27 Jan). Jazzwise is media partner for this concert series.

– Mike Flynn

For more info and full listings visit www.turnersims.co.uk

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will take place on 12 September at Omeara, London SE1, and includes rising star saxophonist Nubya Garcia (above) who is gaining recognition for her work with her own 5tet, all-female septet Nérija, spiritual jazz ensemble Maisha and her high-energy hook up with tuba titan Theon Cross.

Other artists appearing at the showcase are flautist/singer/producer Ola Szmidt, singer songwriter John Elliott aka The Little Unsaid and emergent jazz drummer Femi Koleoso. The Steve Reid Foundation was set up by DJ/broadcaster Gilles Peterson after he witnessed late great drummer, Reid, suffering in terrible poverty after he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009.

The Steve Reid Innovation Fund is run by PRS Foundation and the Steve Reid Foundation, and offers "vital support to unsigned artists pushing musical boundaries", with each artist appearing at the showcase receiving development bursaries and mentoring from the Foundation.

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.prsformusicfoundation.com

Watch Nubya Garcia perform a unique duo jam with keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones

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