Sad to report that Jack Massarik, the London Evening Standard’s jazz critic, died on 13 July at the age of 74. The dreaded C.
He was very passionate about jazz and wrote knowledgeably and entertainingly on the subject. He was until almost the end a regular and friendly presence at all sorts of gigs. Usually sitting quietly near the back, enjoying himself immensely (and occasionally pulling faces). He spent something like 40 years supporting jazz through its years of existential crisis* and generously championing many musicians. He could also be somewhat forthright in his opinions, but always with a lively sense of humour and he reserved the full force of his spleen for when it was really needed. Mostly…
When given the bad news about his late diagnosis, his reaction was: okay, what am I supposed to do – sue the guy?
He got round the bazaars, did Jack. You were as likely to run across him at a jam in a pub down a back alley as at some big glam blowout in plushly upholstered Soho. He started off playing piano and alto sax in his early days in Manchester, later moving to the smoke (or rather, the smokier) and switching to guitar and typewriter. I had a sense of kinship with him, since we worked through the same ranks downtable at PA, the Guardian and elsewhere.
He was one of that disappearing breed of journalists who could really walk the walk. That’s what “old school” really means, kiddiewinks.
We’ll miss him. One of the tunes he chose for his funeral is I Thought About You, and we’ll roll that one out next Monday in his honour.
*Which aren’t over.