RIP Joan Morrell (1938-2011)

Joan Morrell (1938-2011)

John Blandford writes:

Joan Morrell , who founded the Cambridge Modern Jazz Club in 1972 and ran it continuously since then, sadly died on November 20th.

Joan was a native of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, where she founded her first club while still a teenager, but it is the Cambridge club with which she will always be associated. The UK jazz scene is heavily dependent on volunteer promoters, and anyone who has carried out this role will know the tenacity and hard graft required to sustain a club over almost 40 years.

Ever a modernist, Joan played a major role in developing the early careers of numerous fledgling players who went on to become internationally renowned artists. One such, Iain Ballamy, remembers Joan’s enthusiasm to programme new, experimental, imaginative and sometimes obscure acts. Joan’s guiding principle was to champion, respect and support the music rather than to maximise ticket sales. Her policies have earned the club genuine respect and credibility from the hundreds of musicians who have played there.

Joan will be irreplaceable, but happily the club will continue in the spirit in which she nurtured and ran it. It is hoped that a memorial event will take place next year. RIP.

Joan Morrell. Born 14th March 1938 . Died 20th November 2011

Cambridge Modern Jazz / Mick Hutton wrote this tribute before the 606 benefit gig in August

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  1. I have only just seen this…so saddened to hear. Joan was a joy to work – tho we never met, was only ever phone chats and emails – but I was very heartened by her commitment to adventurous programming and her dedication to the music and the musicians. Its a tribute to her that Cambridge Modern Jazz prospered despite many ups and downs, and was so highly regarded by the musicians.

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