Jazz Summers RIP: 1944 – 2015

The UK music industry has lost one of its legends.

Tributes have poured in from artists and business heavyweights following news of the the death of Jazz Summers on Saturday (August 15), aged 71.

Big Life co-founder Summers managed the likes of Wham!, Snow Patrol, Badly Drawn Boy, The Verve, Klaxons, La Roux, London Grammar and Scissor Sisters during his career.

He had been suffering from lung cancer for the past two years.

“The music industry has lost one of its most vibrant, most notorious and most brilliant characters,” reads a touching tribute on the Big Life Management website, which calls Summers “a champion of new music, a non-conformist and a visionary”.

In partnership with Simon Napier-Bell in the mid-’80s, Summers managed Wham!, helping them become genuine stars all over the globe – including the tough-to-crack US market.

Summers formed his own management company, Big Life, in partnership with Tim Parry in 1986.

Big Life will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.

The duo also ran Big Life Records, signing artists including The Orb, Yazz, Coldcut, De La Soul and The Soup Dragons.

In 2003, Summers was awarded the prestigious Peter Grant Award and in 2007, the Strat Award at the Music Week Awards.

Summers is survived by his wife Dianna, his daughters Katie, Rio and Georgia, his granddaughters Claire, Lila and Rose and his brother Don.

The tributes are still emerging on social media for Summers, who clearly had a marked impact on a huge array of music industry talent.

You can find a handpicked selection of artist and music biz quotes about Jazz below.

“So sad that Jazz Summers has passed away. He believed in Snow Patrol when few did & was a huge reason for our success. Thank you, Jazz.”

Gary Lightbody, Snow Patrol

“Heartbroken to hear that my friend and ex-manager has passed away. He was a formidable force of nature! A fighter till the end.”

Boy George

When we started Transgressive, Jazz Summers was one of the very first managers that Tim and I ever worked with. He not only showed us the ropes – he pulled them taut.

Jazz made us quickly realise that the only way to operate in an industry as commonly insecure and transitory as the musical one was to stand with utter conviction, belief, love and passion. Occasionally, he challenged and tested, but typically there was a cheeky glint in his eye when doing so – he only ever wanted the best.

Overall, Jazz was nurturing, supportive and always looking at the bigger picture. His friendships within Big Life, and the artistic community, spread far and wide for that reason. He also had the courage to stand up and challenge things that deserved to be challenged; something that should really happen more.

Jazz fought the good fight for so many musicians, and those good people behind musicians, always with wise and encouraging words to share, plus wicked anecdotes. He was the victor over a traumatic past, forging and mastering a career later than many might have realised.

Thanks for being there, Jazz – you will be sorely missed. X

Toby L, Co-Founder, Transgressive Records

“A sad farewell to Jazz Summers – music legend and good friend of The Charlatans. Thoughts are with his family. He was a good un.”

The Charltans’ Tim Burgess

“RIP Jazz Summers my old flat mate and friend. The Industry will not be the same without you!”

Rob Hallet, Robomagic

“Jazz Summers. Big Life – Big Loss. Great manager, great business partner, great friend. Bye bye Jazz. Gonna miss you.”

Simon Napier-Bell

“Jazz Summers meant the world to the four of us. He had a huge heart and was full of vital energy to always make things happen.”

The Futureheads

“Genuinely sad to hear the news of Jazz Summer’s passing last night. He was an uncompromising man, but by the time I knew him, he was clean, tough talking, but honest. He’d no doubt find all the tributes today hilarious, but would be surprised and moved too. RIP Jazz.”

Martin Talbot, Official Charts Company

“Big Love to the family of Big Life legend Jazz Summers who sadly passed away. He said lovely things to me over the years that I treasure.”

Simon Raymonde, Bella Union

“Sir Jazz Summers, a man of valour and colour has passed. his legacy will last, his ability vast. We will miss him and his cheeky grin, and his will to win. I am indebted to have had the honour to work with him, through thick and some thin… Respect my liege, rest in peace.”

Jim Chancellor, Fiction Records

“Very sad about Jazz Summers .. I worked with him and Tim Parry his partner at Big Life for about 7 years in the 90s .. they gave me lots of support and belief in me when I started my own imprint on Big Life .. Bolshi Records. He was real music man.. tough guy but truly inspirational…. RIP.”

Sarah Bolshi, Sunday Best

“Thinking about my dear friend Jazz Summers – the most kind, loyal & supportive friend. He was so good to me & my family. Love you Jazz RIP x”

Janice Long

“We’ve lost a good friend. Thank you Jazz Summers for your guidance and friendship.”

Zane Lowe

“Very sad to hear the news about Jazz Summers. The industry needs more people with his tenacity and vision.”

George Ergatoudis, BBC Radio 1

“Rest in peace Jazz Summers. Only once did I ever have to negotiate against him. He was always supportive and there to advise. He was one of a kind. He will be missed.”

Scott Rodger, Quest Management

“Representing artists is a complex profession. Jazz Summers operated on another level.”

Justin Kalifowitz, Downtown Music Publishing

“A friend mentor and music industry legend… Rest in peace great man.”

Jonathan Shalit, ROAR Global

“Jazz Summers RIP after your long illness. One of the Greatest rock managers of all time, a personal friend and a former MMF Chairman.”

Stephen Budd, Stephen Budd Management

“Sorry to hear Jazz Summers has passed away way too early. A management legend. UK music has lost a big force.”

David Bianchi, Various Artists Management
Music Business Worldwide

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