“Musician, sound engineer, record producer, author, painter.” and former club owner. The great British bassist Peter Ind passed away last night, 20 August 2021, at the age of 93.
Bassist Peter Ind, who has died at the age of 93, had a fascinating career. He played on the Birth of the Cool sessions. His contribution to music is unique. In Sadness.
Steve Rubie of the 606 hosted a 90th birthday gig for him in 2018, and interviewed him as a curtain-raiser for it. LINK TO FULL INTERVIEW.
Extracts from 2018 interview:
New York: I went out to New York many times before I went to live there in the ’50s, working as a musician on the Queen Mary (July 1949 to May 1951) and so had the opportunity to see the incredible jazz scene in NY at that time – all the clubs on 52nd street – the Three Deuces, the Orchid Room, Birdland – and elsewhere with so many musicians – Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Bud Powell, Erroll Garner, Coleman Hawkins – just playing all over the place. I loved that scene and mirrored Bass Clef on those clubs – it was downstairs in the basement – informal, comfortable, with reasonably priced beer – and I also wanted it to have really good food – a vegetarian selection as well. It was all about the music – we had Latin American and Afro Caribbean nights each week – with a crowded dance floor – a fantastic range of live improvisational music from high energy young players and with a lot of US renowned musicians like Kenny Barron and Duke Jordan coming over to play.
Lennie Tristano: I have talked and written a lot about Lennie Tristano – in fact I wrote a book about him (Jazz Visions – Lennie Tristano and His Legacy, Equinox, 2007). He was probably the first one that believed that jazz could be taught. He was an amazing character – a blind piano player that commanded great respect and played incredible improvisations. It is the strangest thing to me that he is so unacknowledged now. His patience and thoroughness in learning tunes in all keys particularly stands out in my mind.
Are there specific qualities that all truly great musicians share? Intensity – they commit to their playing 150%.
TRIBUTES: We will be collecting memories and tributes here.
Iain Ballamy: When someone who has been a part of jazz history since the 1940’s leaves us, it is a time for appreciation and reflection.
Peter was a unique and exceptional man. Jazz history firmly places him at the forefront of the west coast cool jazz movement as it was unfolding in real time. He was a sophisticated musical thinker and great bassist. When he played he was forthright and committed, as strong an ox. Peter looked like a wizard – in fact I actually think he was a wizard. He supported all young musicians who were serious about the jazz without exception.
Starting a jazz club like the Bass Clef in Hoxton could be described as an act of madness to which I’m sure 606 club owner Steve Rubie would testify. Peter not only started one, he then opened another above it called the Tenor clef. Not even John Prescott could boast a double like that!
I personally have much to thank him for including offering me and many of my contemporaries some great opportunities to play at his club as a young musician in the 80’s with my own bands and other collaborations. I particularly remember one gig with Gordon Beck and a packed two tenor head to header with Courtney Pine. Kenny Kirkland was sat at the front smiling all night!
Outside the great recordings Peter made with Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh which helped form and inspire me, I also respected his knowledge of antiques and ceramics, an interest outside of music we both shared.
In September 2008 I was booked by Steve Rubie to play for two nights with Peter Ind at the 606 club as a quartet with myself on tenor, Lee Konitz on alto and the great drummer Rod Youngs. Sadly this never happened as Lee was detained in Germany hours before the gig was due to start for not having the correct work visa to travel to the UK. There was however a silver lining as both gigs still went ahead, one night with Gwilym Simcock and the other with Kit Downes. They are both terrible alto players but fortunately both great on piano!
Peter shone both those nights like the wizard he was – a force of music and a force of nature. I will miss him but always remember him for his contribution to jazz with great fondness and gratitude.
Gary Crosby: Jazz people
We have lost a Lord of the lower frequencies. The bassist of choice for Lennie Tristano, Roy Eldridge, Colman Hawkins, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, and one of the first to play a solo Jazz bass concert. He started an artist run label, Wave records, was a teacher, a painter, a writer… He is gone.
Unbelievable sad news, although over the last few years, I tensed up every time I got a phone call from his wife Susan Jones, half expecting bad news. But he keep on going like some tough old boot and was always generous with wisdoms, tried and tested by experience and wide reading. (they lost the blue print for that model) From a hospital bed explaining aspects of Wilhelm Reich’s philosophy and his hopes of a better future for mankind – these conversations were deep. I knew he was suffering and I was there trying to digest the last bit of his insights into the meaning of life, the Arts, the ecology, WW11 beatniks, peace and love and my own interest, electrical engineering.
He had given the Jazz and World music community The Bass Clef and The Tenor Clef which were the first nu cultural development steps towards what you see in Hoxton Square/Shoreditch today and provided a meeting place between players of different Jazz backgrounds and ages to play this great music together. These contributions were testimony to Peter’s total commitment to Improvised Jazz and the scene, encouraging the younger players, whether in a music workshop, master class or more formal jazz classes at uni, to forget labels and ego- derived criteria and study Jazz solos by singing them first then playing them on your instrument as etudes for technical, melodic and harmonic development. Teachings he got from Lennie Tristano – “can’t sing it don’t play it”
A young handsome and healthy Peter Ind lived the Jazz life to the max. No need to elaborate on that. But he also painted the most beautiful paintings of the Caribbean – so real you could smell it ! He wrote books on Cosmic energy and was knowledgeable on everything. A real life Gandalf who loved and believed in the power of Art.
There is so to much to say about Master Pete, but for now, lets say we will celebrate him and the others who have left us within this period and when the dark cloud lifts and Art can use its wings again we are going put on the greatest UK Jazz Party for our fallen Heroes.
Our thoughts and support goes out to the rock, the backbone of Pete’s life for many years, Susan Jones.
Frank Griffith: So sad to lose Peter. I played with and enjoyed his company for many years in London. He always had lots of positive vibes about his many musical friends in the USA. His passing marks the end of an era. RIP….
Sheila Jordan (Facebook): I WAS JUST INFORMED THAT MY DEAR FRIEND WHO WAS THE FIRST TO RECORD ME AND MY VERY FIRST BASS-AND-VOICE PARTNER, PETER IND HAS PASSED. OH I AM SO SAD TO HEAR THIS … REST IN PEACE PETER AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP AND FOR GIVING ME COURAGE AND STRENGTH TO DO THE BASS AND VOICE DUO … I LOVE YOU AND WILL MISS YOU VERY MUCH. REST IN PEACE DEAR DEAR FRIEND.
Jack McGouran, Cork Jazz Festival: What a renaissance jazzman! He was at the very heart of jazz for decades. His many sessions with Louis Stewart will be long remembered in Ireland, both on albums and his appearances at the Cork Jazz Festival. Farewell to a remarkable and gentle person, a giant of jazz.
Fernandez Ortiz de Urbina (Twitter): RIP a bassist as extraordinary as he was unassuming and kind, the one and only Peter Ind, who passed away at 22.15 (London time) on Friday 20, at age 93. He lived an incredible life and has left us, among many other things, this perennial bass line:
Peter has gone. Of course I’ll miss his immense musicality, his depth of sound, his knowledge of the lyrics (he suggested many a song to me over the years) and his laser commitment to an art form that I sometimes felt he’d invented. I’ll miss his magical powers. Knowing, just knowing, that Stairway To The Stars would be the one to do as a duet, once the band were in the pub. ‘Let’s just do it Ian…I’ll explain more later, why.’ We did and he did. These magical happenings have marked our long friendship.
I met Peter when I was mostly on the stand-up circuit but fascinated by improvisation. Lester Moses, John Stevens, Carol Grimes, Phil Minton, Jan Ponsford, Maggie Nicholls. These were my first mentors. Hoxton Square was our ground. Bonkers sessions. Community. Music. I loved it. Peter invited me to a session at his beloved Wave. We sat at the piano and he told me about his life as a musician. From his first double bass, balanced on his bike, post-war London to the New York loft scene and California. I was fascinated by his openness to everything, having survived the dullest university entry into a decidedly unmagical world of learning, myself. He introduced me to Slim Gaillard and took me to The Wag Club, where, at the bar he told me I should play piano more. He snuck me down to see one of the musical giants, Sheila Jordan, duetting with him at his very cool club and asked me to play the opening week at his new one upstairs,Tenor Clef. Where, under his soulful gaze, I developed a solo gig.
Years later, we were recording at Abbey Road, an immense ambition of mine – an extraordinary group I’d formed around Peter. From a nineteen year old Miguel Gorodi, to Peter himself – at eighty-three, beaming mischievously and playing like Peter Ind. I’ll miss his warmth, his stories, his painterly ways of seeing. And that sound, shot from the heart of the history of jazz itself. But like all of us, whose lives he has rocked and gently knocked this way and that – I’ll miss his friendship.
John Stevenson:I am saddened to learn of Peter Ind’s passing.
I was introduced to Peter and his wife Sue Jones in 1999 in Barbados by Susan Bain, a mutual friend and jazz enthusiast.
At the time, I hosted a weekly jazz radio programme on the Voice of Barbados (the VOB Jazz Beat). Peter and Sue gladly took up my invitation to spend an hour on the show. I had hitherto not heard of Peter – and seriously doubt whether many Bajan listeners were aware of him either. But what a very informative and entertaining evening it turned out to be, in the historic former Rediffusion studio in Bridgetown!
Peter brought along a few recordings with him including the impressive Looking Out (1960) and Triple Libra – a 1981 CD featuring himself and Martin Taylor. He spent time discussing his fascinating collaborations with Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano, while living in America.
It was readily apparent to me that Peter was an important voice on the double bass, having also played with Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.
Though we always promised to meet up with each other when I relocated to the UK in 2000, I kept in touch sporadically via email with Peter during the early 2000s. The last time I saw Peter and Sue was at Coleridge Goode’s funeral in 2015.
The UK has lost a notable elder statesman of jazz. I do hope his not inconsiderable artistic legacy will be fittingly memorialised.