Scottish folk musician, Bert Jansch, one of the most influential and revered acoustic guitar players in the world, has died from cancer at the age of 67.
Jansch passed away in the early hours of October 5 at a hospice in Hampstead, north London. Though he had been ill for some time, Jansch continued to tour and perform, most recently appearing at Glastonbury earlier this year.
Born in Glasgow in 1943, Jansch was a leading figure in sixties folk music, releasing his first album, the self-titled, Bert Jansch, in 1965, which has been hailed as one of the greatest folk albums ever recorded. Jansch’s influence as a musician has streched across several musical genres and generations, from Paul Simon to Graham Coxon.
The Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr has said that “You hear him in Nick Drake, Pete Townshend, Donovan, The Beatles, Jimmy Page and Neil Young.”
While Neil Young called Jansch “As much of a great guitar player as Jimi Hendrix.”
Between 1967 and 1973, Jansch co-founder and guitarist with the legendary folk group Pentangle, playing alongside John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox. Pentangle were known for their innovative mix of folk, rock and jazz, as seen through their seminal albums, The Pentangle, Sweet Child and Basket of Light. Their biggest hit single was “Light Flight”, which was used as the theme to the hit TV series Take Three Girls.
In 2007, Pentangle received a Life-time Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, where producer John Leonard said
“Pentangle were one of the most influential groups of the late 20th century and it would be wrong for the awards not to recognise what an impact they had on the music scene.”
Jansch continued to record, tour (supporting Neil Young in 2010) and producing solo material, which led to a major resurgence in his popularity over the past decade. His most recent album Black Swan was released in 2006, of which All Music said:
For the past ten years Jansch has been undergoing a creative renaissance akin to Bob Dylan’s and people are slowly but surely finding what he has on offer. Black Swan proves that the guitarist and songwriter has a bounty at his disposal. He is writing and recording music that is profound, funny, topical, worldly, and ultimately, necessary.
R.I.P. Bert Jansch 1943-2011
Pentangle - “Light Flight”