Bert Jansch, the legendary British folk guitarist passed away in a Hampstead hospice earlier on today. He was 67 and had been fighting a battle with cancer for many years.
Bert was born in Glasgow and came to prominance after his arrival in London during the 1960’s. He was a founding member of Pentangle (1967) by which point he was already an established solo performer on the British folk scene. He later returned to his solo career but reformed Pentangle in the early 80s.
His guitar style was eclectic and in many ways revolutionary, taking inspiration from a range of styles from jazz and blues to folk and roots. He influenced many other musicians including Paul Simon, Johnny Marr, Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, Graham Coxon, Donovan, Neil Young and Fleet Foxes. His last album, Black Swan, was released in 2006 and featured collaborations with Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart. He had 25 albums to his name and one of his last recording sessions was his British rock star Pete Doherty.
The tributes have been rolling in since his death was announced early this morning:
Radio 2 folk show presenter Mike Harding was among those paying tribute to Jansch today.
He said: “Bert Jansch was one of the greats of the folk world, and easily one of the most influential musicians of his generation.
“In person he was a quiet and gentle man, but when he picked up his guitar he was the centre of everyone’s attention. He was a true original.”
Harding’s show tonight will contain a tribute to the musician.
Singer Eddi Reader called him “a gentle, gentle gentleman”. In a message on Twitter she said: “God speed, darlin’ Bert – get us on the guest list.”
Marr called Jansch “a leader of his generation”.
“He really was the king of the beatnik troubadours and no one ever tried to usurp that,” the former Smiths guitarist told BBC 6 Music.
“As a person he exuded a secret wisdom. Getting to play with him was an absolute privilege.”
Blur guitarist Graham Coxon said: “Bert Jansch was a flawless guitar player and from my experience a ‘what you see is what you get’, no frills, staunch fellow with nothing to prove to anyone.
“He was top of the pile whether he thought so or not.”
He was not one to let fame go to his head and he told the Guardian last year:
“I’m not one for showing off. But I guess my guitar-playing sticks out.”
Bert jansch with Ralph McTell – moonshine
Bert Jansch – There comes a time/Fresh as a sweet sunday morning (live)
Bert Jansch – Angie
His influence will live on well into the future!