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archive head spider 2011_October 2011_October_05_3

Bert Jansch...R.I.P.

Bert Jansch  died of lung cancer Wednesday at the age of 67.

He was a virtuoso guitarist, hailed by the likes of Jimmy Page,  Neil Young and Johnny Marr of the Smiths as a force to be reckoned with -and learned from, and was  recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. He was also a prolific songwriter. 

Bert was at the center of the British folk revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s . He was a founder of Pentangle, a nuanced, visionary mix of folk and jazz music that found a huge audience for its complex arrangements and stunning musicianship.

His solo career was bookended by the outstanding "Bert Jansch" album in 1965 - recorded on borrowed guitars - and the critically acclaimed "Black Swan" CD released in 2006.

Neil Young, who earlier this year invited Jansch to open for him on a concert tour, said that Jansch created a new approach to the acoustic guitar much as Jimi Hendrix changed the sound of the electric guitar.

John Barrow, Bert's U.K. concert booking agent:
"I've been his agent for just over 10 years and when I met him he was at a low ebb and not really getting the recognition he deserved," Barrow said. "But it is a measure of the man that he had at that point continued playing in a pub in Carnaby Street in London. Even at that time Liam and Noel Gallagher from Oasis were turning up at that pub to listen to him."

Bert was born in Scotland, & was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music in 2007 by Edinburgh Napier University. 

Pentangle was hailed by critics and fans for providing modern renditions of classic folk songs, helping to keep traditional music alive and vibrant, and also for innovative, jazz-inflected new material. They attracted a substantial following in an era when Bob Dylan, Donovan, Fairport Convention and others were looking to traditional acoustic sounds for inspiration.

Bert's final performance was at with  Pentangle at London's Royal Festival Hall on Aug. 1.  

Bert died at the Marie Curie Hospice in north London. He  had recently been forced to cancel several planned solo concerts because of his failing health.

Folk singer Eddi Reader called Jansch "a gentle, gentle gentleman." In a message on Twitter she said: "God speed, darlin' Bert - get us on the guest list."

Bert  is survived by his wife, Loren, and son, Adam.