16 August 2015

Simon Jones pays tribute to Jazz Summers

Verve bassist Simon Jones, 2008
Where to start? Today I heard the unfortunate news that Jazz Summers, ‘Music Industry Legend’ former ‘Urban Hymns’ and ‘Forth’ era manager of my band ‘The Verve’ finally lost his long battle with lung cancer and sadly passed away this morning. The man needs no introduction from myself. The very mention of his name would either, (if he was on your side,) make you want to clench your fist and thrust it into the air, or (if he was against you,) curse, swear, call him every name under the sun. Believe me the mention of his name, always received a STRONG reaction, but whatever, the man deserved respect. He was one of a kind. He didn’t sit on fences. His achievements and his loyalty speak for itself.

I can’t say I always saw eye to eye with him, but that goes for many who knew the man, in fact that goes for many of my closest friends too. Disagreements? – plenty! But his mantra was all about being humble. He was always softly spoken and positive. ‘Solutions not problems.’ A contradiction to the fearsome reputation that preceded him. Sometimes when I saw his number appear on my phone, say at 12.30 a.m. (the man never stopped working) my stomach might turn – “oh no, what does he want, what is the problem now,” well I was in ‘The Verve’ – nothing was ever easy, you know…..It took a lot of coaching and conversations that I think was as therapeutic for himself as it was for myself. If it was really, really important, back in the day, he’d say, “Can you just pop round for a minute” midnight or not!

By some strange twist of fate, we lived on parallel roads in N.W. London at the time. I lived at number 44 Brondesbury Villas, he lived at 44 Brondesbury Rd, it was like living too close to your parents. If something important needed sorting out – you couldn’t really say “no Jazz I’m busy” he was so passionate about his work that, that was not an option!

Recently, I was lucky enough to go to Big Life HQ in the co-incidentally named Sommerstown near Euston, to see him surrounded by his beautiful family and his lovely new kittens, he was so comfortable in this world, it felt awkward at first being in such an intimate place, but he was the same old, same old! I took him some lost recordings from ‘The Verve’ on one occasion as I’d just been to Universal Records to have a meeting about some re-issues and had in my possession a treasure trove of unreleased music he’d never heard. “Well come on let me hear them” I played him a track called “All Ways Are Maybes” that for the life of me I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t included on the album. An amazing tune. “Farkin ‘ell – Why’ve I never heard this!” He stands up all animated, “This could of been a single!” “What else can you play me?”

The next couple of hours was spent, listening to music, drinking tea, eating biscuits, reminiscing about old times, his favourite gig (The Verve headlining Glastonbury – read his book) and how could we persuade Richard to do more gigs, ha, ha – not a topic of conversation high on my agenda, but the music brought him back to life and it was, “let me speak to Richard, let me speak to such and such a promoter, see if we can do a one off for the 20th Anniversary etc, etc” Well, this is how it went, despite him knowing it was probably a fckn impossible thing to put together, but that was Jazz all over – ruled by a passion for Music, his artists and his friends! Brilliant last memories that I will savour and hold close to my heart, much more than the trauma’s!

Big Life
Big Love
Big Man
Peace and love Si Jones x