In Memory of Dave Gravett (1936-2016)
15th February 1936 – 29th December 2016
I first met Dave 25 years ago when he was struggling to unload the old Brighton Jazz Club brown suitcase full of assorted cables and leads from his car outside the Concorde. He gratefully accepted my offer of help and a long friendship began. In the subsequent jazz club years we saw each other a lot. We shared a passion for the music obviously but also for cycling and for beer. Dave travelled many miles in Europe following professional races, the Tour de France yes, but he had a real penchant for the Belgian classics with a locals’ knowledge about where to position himself in order to dash (or drive) to the next viewpoint. But it is with jazz that we shared most of our good times.
Dave was a massively unassuming character who wanted no praise for his total reliability and commitment. When he became less able to help physically with the ‘set-up’ he became a fixture of the Brighton Jazz Club front-of-house, providing thousands of punters with the feeling that they were part of a ‘family’. His enthusiasm kept me going during times when my interest needed a boost. He was always totally behind acts that I brought down to the club including many that others of his generation tended to dismiss as ‘not being jazz’. He was passionate about piano trios and pianos in generally (especially tuned ones!), when others asked where the ‘front man’ was! Each night for Dave was the ‘best gig we’ve ever had’. He was a great hoarder of jazz club publicity material and ephemera and I hope, once sorted and catalogued, to be able to offer it to the National Jazz Archive at Loughton Library.
Jazz in the UK would not be possible without the passion and commitment of selfless individuals like Dave. In terms of the whole package they are just as important as the musicians themselves. The local jazz scene has lost a true friend.
Chairman, Brighton Jazz Club, January 2017.