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RIP Dennis Matthews

We wrote last December about the closure of Crescendo Magazine. Founder/Editor Dennis H Matthews passed away in Chase Farm Hospital on July 4th, and his funeral is taking place this afternoon at Slough Crematorium.

Digby Fairweather gave us a tribute: ” Dennis carried the flame for the glory days of Big Band, and for its British and American stars for decades in the columns of Crescendo.” Digby remembers that Dennis also promoted gigs involving the top players in the country to celebrate the legacy.

According to the jazzprofessional.com website, a substantial part of the back issues are available in digital form, for purchase. We have not been able to verify whether this material is still available and/or whether the price quoted is still current.

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  1. Chris Parker has written:

    Sorry to see he'd died; I edited Crescendo for a short time some while back & always found him very much an original, a great enthusiast, a somewhat Dickensian character in that everything he did was somehow absolutely typical of him, making you smile in recognition of its sheer
    Matthewsness.

    Anyone who is able to keep a specialist mag going for that long, too, should be praised…

  2. Very sad news. I first took Crescendo magazine in the early sixties when I was playing in a rehearsal big band, and someone brought copies of the magazine to sell there. Dennis kept the magazine alive – against the odds – right up to last year, when funds ran out.

    He was a great enthusiast for mainstream and big-band jazz. He promoted Lionel Hampton's visit to the UK some years ago, and often attended the Hampton jazz festival in the USA.

    He was devoted to his magazine and I suspect that its demise led to his own demise as it was – in a way – his whole life.

  3. So sad to about Dennis Matthews. Dennis arranged the tribute concert 'Conversations a drum spectacular-a tribute to Frank King' – Buddy Rich Louis Bellson Kenny Clair and Bobby Lamb/Ray Premru Big Band (1972) – I didn't have a copy of the concert and had never heard it- but Dennis sent me a tape back in the 90's and i since have 3 copied of the LP and quite a few years worth of digitized Crescendo and Jazz music magazine.

    No doubt Dennis will be running Celestial Crescendo and Jazz music magazine along with my dad Frank King writing the Drums Sense sections.

    Thankyou for all you help Dennis – I'll get what i have of crescendo up on the web. Next time you are interviewing Buddy , Don't ask him about the state of music today in the material world- as the response would not be printable…

    James King

  4. So sorry to hear about Dennis. I spent a few years commuting into London with him from Huntingdon, and I know how enthusiastic he was about his magazine.
    Anne Athol

  5. Very sorry to have found out of the death of Dennis so late. He supplied me with my Russell Garcia book & an amazing book on copying by Clinton Roemer. I played in the Crescendo rehearsal band which used to rehearse on Sundays at the Dance Centre, Floral St. I also had lessons from Frank King & I attended the memorial concert, & I have a copy of the record if James would like a digital copy. Dennis & Frank were very helpful to me. I am still in the M.U. central branch if anyone should wish to get in touch. Eddy Sparrow.

  6. Sad to hear that Dennis has passed on.. I realise that it is quite some time now. (26th May 2016) I've only just found this site. I've been writing a blog on my website about some of the times I had in London in the late 60's and early 70's. I too, played in one of Dennis's rehearsal bands, when it was based in Archer Street nr Leicester Square and it was this involvement that brought me to London to live.

  7. James. I am your cousin. My dad Albert was your dad's brother. If you get this, please email me riccardking@hotmail or text/ call Richard on 07923853022

  8. My husband Geoff Burdett would go to see Dennis
    Matthew’s and help him organise his rather unruly
    Collection of books and piles of papers a few years before he died. I had met him and must say that they had a lovely relationship.
    Geoff was writing pieces for Crescendo. It was a lovely time for him as a jazz critic. We didn’t get to know till some time later that he’d died, and was so sorry we didn’t attend he’s funeral.
    Sadly Geoffrey died on the 26th August this year.
    And is very much missed.

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