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John Cumming 1948-2020

It is very sad to hear of the death of John Cumming. I first came across him during my earliest days on this scene, in the early 90s, having heard about how the Jenkins Jazz Police (Billy Jenkins’ two daughters, Alice and Harriet) had got in to raid Serious’s offices in Soho.

His passion and commitment seemed powerful enough to look beyond any short-term problems into ‘sunlit uplands’. It really came home to me how influential he was, when, at a party for John Jack, he had talked about John’s importance in the foundation of the Jazz Centre Society. Which seemed to grow out of Ronnie’s Old Place, where John Jack had been manager. Of course, we had contact with John and Serious regularly for the London Jazz Festival, though for much of the rest of the year, we focussed on a scene of musicians which ran parallel to their main interests.

So many stories. I hope that they can be collected somehow. We need his memoirs. He had an incredible memory and incredible social skills. All we’ll get are the tributes to him, rather than his own tributes to the scene.

In the last couple of years, I feel honoured to have known 3 men in particular who helped oil the wheels for the jazz scene as we know it today. John Jack, David Mossman and now John Cumming.

Wishing his family and everyone long life.

Oliver Weindling

(Photo by Tim Dickeson)

Other tributes and obituaries:

Ros Rigby (Londonjazznews)

Richard Williams (Guardian)

Serious

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