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6th Feb 2017
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In common with many of our colleagues across the jazz world , both in this country and internationally, we were shocked and saddened by the news that John Ellson had passed away last weekend – the more so because this was so unexpected. John’s zest for life was matched by a commitment to British jazz that in recent years had given many artists the unmissable opportunity to travel to the USA and Canada as part of the Made in the UK programme that John had created with colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic. Whilst John had successfully pursued his own projects over the past 20 years or so, he played a massively important part in the evolution of Serious and the formative years of the London Jazz Festival – even before the earliest version of the company as a partnership between John and John Cumming in the mid 80s, they had worked together on the production of successive editions of the Bracknell and Camden Jazz Festivals, and John E’s energy and practical skills – not to mention his supportive and lasting relationships with artists of all backgrounds and musical styles - were crucial in the company’s growth, from production and tour management into programming and producing, and especially in building the company’s international work. On a more personal note, John’s gregarious nature and bonhomie approached legendary status – he was a great lunch date… Serious has much to thank John for, but at this moment, our sympathies lie with his close family and friends.