John Cumming
John Cumming (David Sinclair)

London Jazz Festival Co-Founder John Cumming Dead At 71

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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — John Cumming, co-founder of British arts organization Serious Productions, and the London Jazz Festival, has died. He was 71.

His death was announced in a statement from Serious. The Guardian reported that Cumming died after a battle with cancer.

In the 1980s Cumming partnered with John Ellson to launch Serious Productions, managing the careers of artists such as Orphy Robinson, Andy Sheppard and John Surman.

Cumming was a founding member of the European Jazz Network and leveraged his connections to launch the London Jazz Festival in 1992 with the help of the London Arts Board.

His previous experience includes roles as a production and tour manager at Contemporary Music Network in the UK, and programming for Camden Jazz Week.

As well, he worked as a lighting designer for the Albany Empire, IOU Theatre Company and Mike Westbrook, Serious said.

Cumming started his career in the late 1960s, working in the theatre as a director, lightning designer and writer, and co-founded the Pool Theatre in Edinburgh.

“John loved pushing at the boundaries of jazz, reclaiming and underlining the radical inspiration of the music and exploring links with hip-hop and dance culture. He was close to so many major American artists, including Cecil Taylor, Max Roach, Jack DeJohnette and Robert Glasper, but he was particularly passionate about the creative forces inside European jazz. He touched many lives in the UK jazz scene and it gave him great satisfaction that he lived to see a new generation of jazz musicians delighting huge audiences,” Serious said in a statement announcing his passing.

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