Jazz Summers, who lived his life to the full, is no longer with us. He died over the weekend after struggling with cancer.
A man of many parts, he was a soldier who became one of the music industry’s most successful managers. Jazz managed Wham!, Lisa Stansfield, Yazz, Soul ll Soul, The Verve, Badly Drawn Boy, Snow Patrol, Klaxons, La Roux, Scissor Sisters and London Grammar, among many others.
I met Jazz when Quartet published his book, Big Life. I remember telling him before we signed the contract that Quartet, being an independent publisher, has a policy of not (or only very rarely) giving advances against royalties. He looked at me straight in the eye and retorted, ‘I can do better than that. We’re now partners. Whatever the book costs to publish I’ll pay half, and we share the profits – if any.’ He kept his word.
I was taken aback by his largesse and we became friends.
He was a remarkable man. He wrote, ‘I don’t wanna write a book. There is some great books about the music industry. Some classics. Full of people getting pissed and on coke in the morning. I wanna write a book that changes people’s lives…’
He was in many ways a legendary figure, a chance-taker and a hell-raiser you automatically fell for. He had a wicked charm which was irresistible.
Although I wish I knew him more closely, he remains an icon to many who knew him better.
May the Almighty add him to his brigade of men who made their mark in terrestrial terms for the enjoyment of others.