15 August 2015

Jazz Summers, manager of The Verve, dies at 71

Picture by Jonathan Evans /eyevine
Jazz Summers, manager of bands such as Wham!, Snow Patrol and The Verve, has died, his spokesman says.

The 71-year-old, who also worked with the Scissor Sisters, Badly Drawn Boy and Klaxons, had fought lung cancer for the last two years.

Big Life Management, which Summers co-founded 29 years ago, said the music industry has "lost one of its most brilliant characters". Summers's artists sold more than 60 million albums and 72 million singles. A spokesman for Big Life Management said Summers was one of the industry's "most vibrant, most notorious" personalities.

"A champion of new music, a non-conformist and a visionary, Jazz Summers will be greatly missed," he added.

A number of musicians paid tribute to Summers including Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, who wrote on Twitter: "So sad that Jazz Summers has passed away. He believed in Snow Patrol when few did and was a huge reason for our success. Thank you Jazz."

Culture Club singer Boy George said: "Heartbroken to hear that my friend and ex-manager Jazz Summers has passed away. He was a formidable force of nature! A fighter till the end."

Former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe added: "We've lost a good friend. Thank you Jazz Summers for your guidance and friendship. The support Jazz gave his artists was unflinching. If he believed in you, his faith was unshakable. Always there to inspire and support."

Born in March 1944, Summers enrolled in military school aged 12 before joining the army at the age of 15. He served as a radiographer and spent time in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Along with manager Simon Napier-Bell, Jazz helped Wham! break America in 1985 and become the first western pop group to tour China.

Summers formed his own management company, Big Life, with Tim Parry in 1986 and they also ran Big Life Records, which featured hundreds of music releases. It included artists such as The Orb, Yazz - Summers' former wife - Coldcut, De La Soul and The Soup Dragons. Summers also worked with Lisa Stansfield, Soul II Soul, La Roux and London Grammar.

He published his autobiography Big Life in September 2013. He is survived by his wife Dianna and daughters Katie, Rio and Georgia.