Jeff Clyne (1937-2009)

There’s a sense of sadness and of shock in the UK jazz community at the sudden passing, on Monday, of bassist Jeff Clyne. One of those omnipresent, irreplaceable figures in British jazz as performer and teacher. If you seek his monument, just go and have a careful look at your record collection. A huge loss, which is only just beginning to sink in.

Categories: miscellaneous

24 replies »

  1. Terrible news, a lovely guy and a wonderful musician. Spoke to him a week back and had no idea about any illness … he will be remembered repeatedly on dozens and dozens of great jazz records, across many styles, across the decades – Alex

  2. I'll remember not only his skill as a musician, but his enthusiasm for teaching, his generosity to his students. Worked with him recently and his playing was great as ever. Really sad…- Joan

  3. I was very sad to hear that Jeff has left us so suddenly . He was my teacher from age 16 through to 23 and gave me a great deal of help and encouragement. A wonderful man and a great musician who will be missed by so many people.

  4. Jeff's sudden death came as a real shock. Only a few weeks ago he helped me out with useful information for a Jazzwise feature story about Phil Seamen. He was a fit guy for his age and seemed in perfect health. A distinguished player and genuinely modest man, everybody liked and respected him. We often met at concerts, where he regularly checked out what the latest stars were up to. You'd imagine that most professional musicians did that, but in fact surprisingly few bother. I'll miss him.

    – Jack Massarik

  5. Sad day… Jeff was a real jazz legend who always had time for other people. Even though he had played with the “greats” he still loved to come out to play with us “others”. His great enthusiasm, knowledge & musicality was in inspiration to many. He will be greatly missed.

  6. Great sadness – although I'd listened to Jeff in London and on various (Nucleus) recordings it wasn't until he, Trevor and Nick ran the Jazz Week on the Isle of Wight that I got to meet him. He never forgot a face, and always wanted to know “how the family was getting on”. A great musician, excellent teacher, and lovely man, he will be greatly missed.


  7. I'm so sorry to hear that Jeff passed away. I played a gig with him only last month and, as everyone else seems to agree, he appeared to be in perfect health. I didn't know Jeff well but I played with him several times over the years and he was always a pleasure to work with; a great player and a real gentleman. I will miss him.

  8. Through my early association with Tony Oxley, Jeff became a good friend and a muscian who honed and maintained his superlative skills, attention to detail and a respect for almost everybodies music throughout his life.A fine tolerant teacher who gave impetus to even the most perplexed student. Above all Jeff was a true gentleman and a man devoted to his family.They will miss him. We we share their grief.

  9. It was with profound sadness that I heard of Jeff’s passing.

    I have nothing but fond memories of Jeff. We are the same age and first met when we were 15 at the Golders Green Youth Club. We also both had the same bass teacher – Jack Evitts.

    He was a great friend and colleague and I will miss him.

    My wife, Poli and I send our condolences to his family.

    May he Rest In Peace.

    Malcolm and Poli Cecil,
    Woodstock, New York USA

  10. I did my first professional gig with Jeff and although I was pretty green he was lovely, so encouraging and generous. We didn't work together much but last year he came to see me at Lauderdale House with my quartet to remind me how far I had come. A very big loss for British jazz and all my thoughts go to his family.

  11. Jeff was a wonderful bass player and a true gentleman. The last time we saw him was quite recently in Haslemere, and he played wonderfully as ever. He played for us at Shepperton Jazz Club (now Harri's Jazz) many times over the years and for me on singing gigs and was always a joy to listen to, and to work with. The ultimate in professional musicianship. Always smiling, always warm, always interested in everyone. He will be so missed by everyone in the jazz world whether musician or audience. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family.

  12. Very, very sad. Hadn't seen Jeff for a few years as I now live in Australia but he was always a special person, his beautiful wife too.
    Knew them since 1963 when Jeff, Ian Carr, Rick Laird among others shared a house with me and Dave Rowberry when we came to live in London and Jeff has always been for me, along with Dave Holland, the best bass player England has produced. Will never forget the evening at Ronnie's with Sonny Rollins, Benny Goodman and Gordon Beck – years later Sonny remembered what a night it was. Listen to Jeff with Bobby Wellins and Stan play 'I can't give you anything but love' on the New Directions disc – THE BEST.
    Love from Roy Bissell

  13. My sympathies to Chris who I knew many years ago when she first met Jeff. Noreen Taylor Greenslade

  14. Jeff was such a great musician, and an all round nice guy. I remember him from his gigs with The Jazz Couriers, Nucleus and John Etheridge – the list just goes on. The world is poorer for his passing.

  15. I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Jeff Clyne.He was kind enough to give me lessons at his home when I was a young man,he would spend hours with me and his Wife would very kindly make me lunch.He had a fantastic rich tone and just one note would say so much !.I would often watch his band Turning Point and I have great memories of these times.Thank You Jeff and Rest in Peace.

  16. I spent two weeks in Jeff's company as part of the Ronnie Scott's party, who visited New York in 1962 We were astounded at the jazz legends we all saw on thet trip. Jeff spoke with every bass player, in every club we entered.
    A great guy, softly spoken & a very calmimg influence. I saw him briefly two years ago.Not long enough.
    My sincere condolences to all of Jeff's family & friends.
    He will be missed by all.

    Sincerely, Peter Rowan

  17. Jeff was not only a wonderful musician and an inspiring teacher, but also an extremely warm and kind man…I'm glad to have known him and to have been taught by him. Rest in peace Jeff..

Leave a Reply