RIP Gordon Beck

Thank you to a friend of LondonJazz, who has told us of the passing away earlier today of one of the irreplaceable figures in British jazz, pianist Gordon Beck.

Gordon Beck had been ill for a few years, but even the shortest of glimpses at this discography or biography will either bring back strong memories, or serve either as a lead to or a reminder of the absolutely central role he played in the music, during more than four decades. Condolences to family, in particular to his sister Judy, and to the many, many close colleagues.

Gordon James Beck. Born September 16, 1938*, died November 6 2011. RIP.

(*) Thank you AS.

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7 replies »

  1. Gordon was such a great musician. I met him a few times in France. Very sorry to hear of his passing.

    Martin Taylor

  2. Gordon was a massive inspiration to me, instrumental in making me want to become a jazz musician after hearing him along with Tony Oxley, Alan Skidmore and Ron Matthewson on the first night of the Barry Summer School in 1978. I was blown away and can still remember how they played.

    Gordon was also a good teacher, clear, methodical, generous and funny. I am constantly shocked and frustrated that 99% of my students are/were completely unaware of Gordon's music. What a terrible shame. I wish that more folk knew of his incredible playing.

    I feel immense sadness and gratitude.

    Simon Purcell

  3. I am very saddened to hear the news of Gordon's passing. He was a towering influence on my formative years through his piano trio and with Gyroscope.
    I had the awesome experience of working with him in a two keyboard situation with Ian Carr's Nucleus in 1974, gigging and recording the Under the Sun album. His superb playing, including the use of ring modulation and other electronic effects, was at the cutting edge of jazz fusion.
    I will always be grateful to him for the inspiration he has given me and I hope that his immense contribution to the world of jazz will be appreciated for many years to come.

  4. Tony Kinsey writes:

    Gordon worked with my Quintet, during a very productive period for the group, in the 60's.
    The band included, Peter King on Tenor: Les Condon on Trumpet: and Kenny Napper on Bass. It was a hot band!

    During a period of two or three years we had a residency in 'Annie's Room', working with and accompanying, many international jazz artistes. We performed in several theatre productions with Annie Ross. Worked at the 'Establishment Club', did many broadcasts and other dates.

    We also recorded an album on the Decca labe,l entitled 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' . A jazz interpretation of music from the show.

    Many of the tracks on the record were arranged by Gordon,all of which I love, and his playing on the album is superb, and lives up to his reputation of being one of the greatest jazz pianists we have ever produced.

    The things I admired most about him, apart from his musicianship, were his dry sense of humor, his ability to see the central point of any problem and his dedication to his sister Judy and family.

    Also, even when we disagreed about certain things, I loved all that was Gordon.

    I have missed not being able to communicate with him in the last few years, due to his illness. Now, along with many more people, I hope this greatly talented man will be remembered, {and thanks to recordings} listened to, for many years to come.

    What a privilege in my life, to have known and worked with Gordon Beck.

  5. Rest in peace Gordon. I had never really heard of him untill the past 3 years and would've loved to have met him in his prime. Although he would still give me a tune if i asked when i needed a pick me up and he never lost his talent dispite his illiness.

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