News: Chris Parker to step back as lead CD reviewer for LondonJazz News

Chris Parker taking notes for a CD review
while on summer holiday, 2013. 

Sebastian and Rob write: 

Chris Parker has decided to step back from his role as the lead reviewer of CDs at LondonJazz News.

We would like to thank him for an amazing contribution over the past three years to setting the tone, and to increasing the professionalism of LondonJazz News with every single piece he has written for us.

Henceforth, Chris's contribution to the site will be as an occasional book reviewer.

Chris is a one-time publisher of Wire magazine and jazz editor for Quartet Books, and he has written about jazz for The Times, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, BBC Music Magazine, Jazz Review and for the Vortex website. He was also presenter of Jazz Today and Jazz in Concert on Radio 3 in the 1980s and early 1990s.

For us it has been a constant privilege to host the work of a writer who is one of the cohort of the most experienced and respected reviewers in the UK. Chris's pieces are models of economy of expression and object lessons in the ethics of reviewing.

Chris is by profession a freelance book editor and proofreader with over 40 years' experience, so the copy he sends in is word-perfect every time. It's an editor's dream.

Chris says: "I've really enjoyed immersing myself in jazz's new releases over the past few years, but would like, while I'm still reasonably alert, to be able to spend more time with my existing record collection, sadly neglected over the past decade or so. Thanks to Seb & Rob for dealing with my copy so sensitively & professionally, & to the site's readers for their kind attention..."

In the wider context, Chris has made a substantial contribution to making UK jazz better known, appreciated and understood.

As regards LondonJazz news the implications are as follows

- We shall miss Chris's invaluable contribution

- Publicists and musicians who are seeking to place reviews of CDs: this is a significant change for us, we will be going through a transition, and ask you to patient with us while we put a new system in place.

- We currently expect to appoint a commissioning editor for CD reviews after our fifth birthday,  in late January


  1. I am sorry to hear that Chris is stepping down, but understand the wish to go back to one's record collection. Chris is a most perceptive reviewer who, in my opinion, always gets things right.

  2. Phil Robson has written:

    'I will certainly miss reading Chris Parker's reviews. Not only does he have a really natural feel for the music, but also the wit, intelligence & great command of language to enable him to communicate to the reader what the music is actually like'

  3. Christine Tobin wrote:

    I am very sad to hear the news that Chris Parker is stepping down from his role at Londonjazz News. I've always enjoyed Chris's writing. You can tell he is a reviewer who listens to every detail and gets right to the soul of it. When reading one of his pieces, you know that he has spent time absorbing the music and not just skim listened. He is an erudite, diligent and illuminating writer who also possess's a terrific wit.

  4. Every time I have passed Chris in Crouch End he has headphones on and is completely immersed in the music playing. I've moved to E17 now but I used to live a few doors down from Chris, I've been to his place for a glass or two of wine and a chat about music but never made it to his famous loft where he has wall to wall records, I can understand that someone with a music collection that big would want to dive back in and check out what's there. Chris has dedicated so much time listening to new releases, writing and supporting the music scene in the UK, he wrote the first live review for Outhouse back in 2005 which helped us up onto the map. He has maintained a balance in his writing, supporting new and established artists, his reviews will be greatly missed. Good luck with getting through that record collection Chris! ps - a blog about that adventure would be great!

  5. hey Chris thank you so much, on behalf of so many musicians, for your concise insightful reviews...we're going to miss you! best for relaxing with your collection, and life without massive pile of envelopes clamouring for attentiion

  6. We all owe Chris Parker thanks for sharing his well-considered and superbly-crafted observations. While I will miss reading his pellucid prose, I salute him for recognizing when the time has come to choose and set one's own deadlines, an enviable option not all of us have the wherewithal to exercise. He has earned it.

  7. Patrick thanks for your comment.

    Just in case there is any misunderstanding, I should point out that all Chris's reviews for this site - as well as those previously written for the Vortex site - have been contributed entirely as a volunteer.

    I'd also like to correct you. Chris does not find himself in the comfortable circumstances which you surmise. He still works very hard, and will continue to do so, and to need to, as a superb editor/proofreader.

    This music, as you know well, inspires devotion and loyalty, of which Chris is above all a fine example to be followed and imitated. .