Photo credit: Sisi Burn. All rights reserved.
Composer, bandleader, pianist, educator Michael Garrick died yesterday, November 11th at Harefield Hospital, at the age of 78. He had suffered from heart problems for some years, and had been admitted to hospital on Monday.
Steve Voce once said that it was “not pretentious to describe him as the British Duke Ellington.” Writer Roger Cotterell asked the question: “Who else, apart from, say Maria Schneider and Mike Gibbs, consistently writes such fresh and uncliched big band music today?” Michael Garrick has been one of the essential irreplaceble figures in British jazz. A full tribute will appear shortly. In sadness.
Very sad news indeed – it was an privilege to know Michael, to experience and enjoy his wonderful music. Below is the quote that has always resonated with me about such a great pianist, composer, arranger and enthusiast for music, poetry and life!
“When the Big Audit is completed, Britain will find itself in trouble for not having disclosed a national asset on the scale of Michael Garrick …”
– from THE PENGUIN GUIDE TO JAZZ ON CD [Richard Cook & Brian Morton]
Michael will be so much missed – a true giant of British contemporary jazz. Always productive, creative and full of enthusiasm and plans. He never stood still musically. His composing and improvising were full of surprises and new discoveries, and he did so much through his teaching to encourage young musicians. At least now, thanks especially to his own Jazz Academy label and the marvellous Vocalion reissues, a lot of his work on record is available. We felt privileged to know him over the years. With his fun and humour, generosity and thoughtfulness, he was the best of company and a real friend. The true scale of his contribution to jazz in Britain has not yet been fully recognised.
Michael was a self-made genius. The most dedicated musician I have ever known. I am in debt to him for everything he taught me about jazz and for the opportunities he gave me to play with him on his jazz courses. He was also a beautiful man with a big heart and sensitive soul, enquiring mind and wry sense of humour. I will miss him greatly.
just heard about Michael……as a Jazz Academy participant, was lucky to get to know him……an brilliant composer and musician…..this is so sad…
All of the above and more. Such sad news and such a great loss. He taught us so much through his love of music and his ability to open our hearts, minds and ears to all its immense possibilities. Thank you Michael – an immeasurable gift…
A fortunate opportunity lead me to meet Michael, Sandra and Beechwood. To this day, and onwards – nothing will replace the fantastic memories that the Jazz Course has offered myself and many of my friends and familiars who have posted above and no doubt below.
I'm sure Luke Tayler will join me in wishing all who knew him our greatest condolences and I'm thankful to have had the chance to meet, not only a great figurehead in British Jazz, but also a great man.
So sad :((((( He was a great inspiration to me, one off totally unique… the garrick, rendel, carr, winstone, ardley bunch are the only musicians out of the uk who could seriously better the US at their own game…
Goodnight Michael RIP
I am so sorry to learn about Michael's death and am thankful that I asked him to autograph his biography when I met up with him last summer at the Guildhall Jazz Course.
I worked with him and Eddy Harvey at the beginning of the Associated Board's Jazz Piano syllabus, and enjoyed our many encounters and differences of opinion!
His talents were considerable and I have enjoyed his music since I first transcribed some of his Jazz Praises when I was a music student.
I mourn his passing and hope that his music and spirit are never forgotten in our jazz world.
I'm very saddened to learn of the loss of Michael. He was such an inspirational figure, tatlly dedicated to the jazz cause. A brilliant pianist, arranger, composer, he had a wicked sense of humour and an incredibly enquiring mind. I will always treasure the time spent in his company when I occasionally taught on his marvellous Jazz Academy courses and the few times I dueted with him, once at a very memorable candle-light concert at St.Cyprian's.
A bomb hit my heart a few minutes ago… I learned that Michael is dead… I was so looking forward to taking part in his Winter Jazz Academy in a few weeks´time.
Very sad to hear this news today. Michael was always a joy to chat too. He always used to send me a letter when I purchased CD's from him directly. A wonderful talent. RIP.
I was saddened to hear of Michael's death, a lifelong friend of Sandra Newman, I was lucky enough to first meet him many years ago at Beechwood – I can never thank him enough for his support and encouragement of Bryony, Luke and Tim ever since. The gift of his outstanding teaching will always remain with them. His inspirational professionalism will inspire them as they continue to listen to his music and remember him always.
Poet, composer, teacher, provoker, inspiration, joker, genius, keyboardist, arranger, giant of intergalactic jazz, changer of lives, will be very much missed.
I was so sorry to hear of Michael's death, he was such an interesting man and I have such fond memories of his days at the Highwayman Jazz Club at Camberley. I loved the Rendell-Carr group who often played there and I always felt that Michael was the main man. He play there with his trio and a guest each week and when I recently asked him what it was like to play with Tubby Hayes and I said that Tubby was a real character, Michael's answer was “they were all real characters”.
Memories of many impromptu jazz evenings over my tea room in Castle Street, Berkhamsted. Your contribution to the world of music will be truly missed.I was part of the first performance of Jazz Praises. RIP – My thoughts to your children. Janetx
Tragic news. Michael's infectious enthusiasm at his Jazz Academy courses gave me the motivation to go to Music College. He will be very sadly missed. Condolences to all his family. Please continue the Jazz courses in your father's memory, Gabs.
I'm utterly devastated, but I feel so very grateful and honoured to have worked a great deal with Mike for the past 2 and half years or so.
Michael was such a unique, vibrant and gifted individual. It has been such a joy to have shared even this brief time with him.
I heard Michael Garrick often in the 60s at UCL Union Jazz Club. He was then, and still was recently, magnificent. 'Black Marigolds' is the only British jazz composition that can be talked of in the same breath as Stan Tracey's 'Under Milk Wood'. RIP
had some great jazz summer school workshops with him and he gave me my grounding in jazz harmony which has lead me on to continue to explore and explore the realm of jazz. Cheeky character, lots of fun, and great listener and performer. Will miss this jazz legend dearly.
David Hays writes:
The report on your website that Michael was taken into hospital Monday 7 November which is not correct.
I organised and was present at his final “Lyric Trio” gig that evening held near Amersham. An evening never to be forgotten for a number of reasons and moved to write about this plus a personal tribute to Mike that may well be found later in the week on the Jazz Journal website.
We pleaded with Mike to get to his doctor a.s.a.p; he duly did and was found a bed Tuesday at Watford General followed by a transfer to Harefield on Thursday for a bypass op' the following day.
After no less than eleven hours on the table he sadly died the evening of the 11th.
A fantastic man, and a great inspiration to me personally on his “Piano People” workshops at the Royal Academy and at Tunbridge Wells
Sad news that Garrick has died. I knew him from several summer schools at Tunbridge Wells; a complex character I think, but an excellent musician with a very individual piano style. My condolences to his children Gabriel and Chris also very fine musicians.
What a tragic loss to British jazz and to the Jazz Academy where I first met Michael. He was a unique man – so talented and so willing to pass on his knowledge to us all.
I shall miss him greatly.
As one member of the choir that sang Jazz Praises all over UK and on TV during the late 1960's and early 1970's with Michael Garrick's sextet I mourn Michael Garrick's passing.
As a young lad he introduced me to jazz of a special kind, I already knew about trad jazz of course but not his enlightened jazz style. All of us in that choir thoroughly enjoyed our years of going wherever Michael wanted us to go to sing along with his fantastic sextet.Two sessions at St Paul's cathedral were probably the most memorable.
Unfortunately the man who taught Michael to play the pipe organ and who conducted the sextet/choir combination (Peter Mound) also passed away recently.
They will both be sorely missed.