Newcastle Jazz Cafe icon Keith Crombie dies aged 74
30 December 2012
A RENOWNED North jazz icon has passed away in hospital.
Keith Crombie, owner of Newcastle’s famous Jazz Cafe, died yesterday at the age of 74.
Known to many as “The Jazz Man”, Keith was a distinctive figure on the local music scene.
Over the years, he handed out thousands of leaflets to students at Northumbria University advertising his popular venue on Newcastle’s Pink Lane.
Mr Crombie was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary with a lung infection on Wednesday but sadly lost his life.
Former Sunday Sun editor Peter Montellier, a friend of 20 years, last night paid tribute.
“There was nowhere like the Jazz Cafe. People used to come from across the world to go there. Just last week there were people from Russia and Korea there saying they’d never seen anywhere like it.”
Star musicians Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr were known to relax at the late-night cafe after performances elsewhere, sometimes spontaneously soloing or jamming with local musicians.
Peter added: “The Jazz Cafe was really popular with famous people who were in Newcastle.
“Actors at the Theatre Royal would always go in for a drink.
“The Royal Shakespeare Company also loved the Jazz Cafe. They would have two nights there every time they were in residency.
“Keith was genuinely on first-name terms with some of the greatest actors of our generation.
“There will be a lot of people who are sad to see him go.”
Friends Pay Tribute To Jazz Legend Keith Crombie
By Joe Daunt
A man who once turned down The Beatles but went on to become one of the most respected men on the Newcastle music scene has died aged 74.
Tributes have been paid to “Jazz Man” Keith Crombie, who died at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary after suffering a lung infection.
Mr Crombie was best known for running the Jazz Café on Pink Lane in Newcastle, and would often be seen handing out flyers for his business close to the university campuses.
Born in Seaham and raised in Newcastle, Mr Crombie picked up an ambition to run his own jazz bar in the 1960s when involved with Newcastle’s legendary Downbeat Club.
He built the Jazz Cafe into one of the region’s leading music venues. Popular with visiting celebrities, it recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
His pulling power saw the Rolling Stones perform in of his bars in the 1960's - when he claimed also to have refused to book The Beatles.
Close friend Shianne Sporr said: “I will miss Keith immensely. He came to my graduation and also gave me away at my wedding.”
Other jazz musicians have also paid tribute to the Jazz 'Legend'.
There will be a jamming session at the Jazz Café on Sunday January 6 in his memory.