About the School

Jeff Clyne 1937 - 2009

Jeff Clyne, Professor of Bass in the School's Jazz Department, died unexpectedly on 16 November 2009. 

Jeff Clyne was a virtuoso bass player. Starting with a short spell as a military bandsman in 1955 he then played in London with Tony Crombie's Rockets and with Stan Tracey. In 1958, he joined the Jazz Couriers, a group co-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott and Britain's answer to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He continued to work with Hayes' various groups for about ten years. 

In the early 60s, Clyne also worked with such avant-garde groups as the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Amalgam, led by John Stevens and Trevor Watts. In 1965, he was a member of the Stan Tracey quartet, which recorded the classic album Under Milk Wood. Towards the late 1960s, he worked with Gordon Beck (playing on his influential Experiments With Pops album alongside John McLaughlin and Tony Oxley in December 1967) and Tony Kinsey. He also recorded a long out of print (and highly sought after) recording he co-led with Ian Carr, which also featured John Stevens and Trevor Watts entitled Springboard. He later took up bass guitar, joining Nucleus at its beginning in 1969 and staying until 1971. 

In November 1972 he was a founding member of Gary Boyle's Isotope, playing on the band's first album and gigging around England. He joined Gilgamesh in May 1975 in time for the recording sessions of the band's eponymous album. In 1976, with singer Pepi Lemer and former Isotope acolyte Brian Miller on keyboards, he formed Turning Point, a fusion band for which he composed much of the music and which recorded two acclaimed albums, Creatures Of The Night and Silent Promise. He accompanied singers Blossom Dearie, Marion Montgomery, Annie Ross and Norma Winstone, and worked with many US musicians, including Lucky Thompson, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Jim Hall, Lockjaw Davis, Tal Farlow, and with the Belgian, Toots Thielemans. 

He was active in education for several years and was co-director of the Wavendon Summer Jazz Course, and also on the faculty of both the Guildhall School and the Royal Academy of Music jazz courses. 

Jeff was an inspiration to generations of jazz musicians and was a highly respected figure in the School's jazz community. He will be missed. 

Read an obituary for Jeff in The Times