Monday, August 9, 2010

Jack Parnell, 6 August 1923 - 8 August 2010

This is the family's online book of remembrance and condolence for Jack Parnell. Please share your memories, thoughts, good wishes and celebration of a remarkable talent and individual. We hope to make them into a book for the family to keep and cherish in his absence. He will be much missed.

To make a post, click on the 'comments' button below this message and follow the instructions.

I've added a few more pictures, links and obituaries here:

Sukey Parnell, daughter-in-law


  1. my thoughts and prayers to family and friends, a very talented man will be sadly missed RIP JACK PARNELL

  2. Jack, Rest your Battle-Weary Soul
    On the softest of Angels Wings ever
    As they gently fly you to
    Pain Free Paradise.

    Gone but NEVER Forgotten,
    you will ALWAYS live on as
    Your Footprints remain lovingly
    Etched on the Hearts of your
    Family, Friends & Colleagues, forever.

    Rest In Peace, in God's Eternal
    Loving Embrace, as His Angels
    Protect you, till the fantastic day
    Your Loved Ones, Friends, and Colleagues
    Can hold you in their arms again.


    Chrissy Lawson
    Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

  3. Fathers.....they are never in our lives long enough.
    love and sincere condolences, Will, to you and your family. Hellyxxx

  4. What can I say? For those of us who lived through the 50's and 60's Jack Parnell WAS "Mr Entertainment."

    Sunday Night at The Palladium was the highlight of the week for millions of people. The likes of Jack Parnell will not pass this way again.

  5. Dear Will in the Jewish tradition I would like to wish you and your family a long and healthy life.

  6. Dear Will and Sukey

    Georgia has just read his obit in today's Guardian and called me to ask if this was Will's father. We are very sad to hear of his passing, but what an amazing man and what an amazing family, (Will was telling me about Val and ITV at K)..thinking of you all. Adam & Georgia x

  7. Big Jack
    You inspired many a kid to start to drum.
    You had a big heart and time for everyone and helped bring Jazz to millions and millions.
    Thank You

    Often copied, never equalled.

  8. to sukey and wil and the family thinking of you all at this sad time and r i p jack parnell god will take care of you , and he will look after all the family as well from pam mcinally god bless you all

  9. Louise Sofield10 August, 2010 18:37

    Dear Will and Sukey, I just wanted to say how sorry Iam at the sad news and send my sincerest sympathy. With much love Louise x x

  10. A Legend! He showed us how to do it!
    Condolences Will & Sukey
    Lori D

  11. I first met Jack and had the pleasure of playing piano on a gig with him several years ago in Norwich.Despite my relative inexperience, he was a true gent and was very encouraging. That really meant a lot coming from such a great musician. We then played several times at The Green Man gig (run by Mike and Barbara Capocci). He was always good company and certainly knew how to tell a funny tale or two! Condolences to all the family - he'll be very missed by so many.

  12. Dear Will, Sukey and kiddos...How lucky are we too have had his talents around us for so many years? Luckier still that you had your father longer than most. So sorry for your loss...Maggie Johnson-Dickey

  13. Having grown up with Ric and known Jack through my uncles I was delighted to get to know him when I too was 'in the biz'. He was always great company and what a talent too
    A privilege to know him
    John Altman

  14. Merlin Rhys Jones12 August, 2010 10:04

    It was an honour to have met Jack through Will and Marc. I remember Jack introducing me to the legendary Joe Pass, at Ronnie Scott's many years ago. He seemed to know everyone at the heart of both English and American Jazz, and always had huge, encouraging and inclusive enthusiasm for many different kinds of music, as well as being a very funny and immensely likeable man. A sad loss.

  15. My mother-in law Poppy Butcher (nee Collins Dryer) was a singer with the Bob Newsome Band after the war aged 16; she sang in dance bands until she was 60. In around 1946/7 she remembers going to see the Ted Heath Band with her husband to be, John Butcher who was like Jack a drummer. John revered Jack as a consummate musician. Both Poppy and John waited outside the Alexandra Gardens Theatre stage door to catch a glimpse of the band as they left; John was a quiet man and not one to push forward for autographs and so Poppy stayed by his side quietly as they watched some of the top musicians of their day pass by. Poppy can picture sitting in that theatre and seeing the Band on stage to this day. Fond memories of a man now gone but never forgotten. Poppy is 82 this 11 November 2010- hence her name. Jane McKell

  16. To Will, Sukey and the Parnell family my deepest condolences.

    I hope you dont mind me sharing a story but I first met Jack Parnell in Studio 1 at the old Amber in West End, Jack was there to collect Will to take him out that evening. Myself Being a young man partial to a herbal cigarette or 2 i left a portion of my herbs on the studio table with a half smoked 'cigarette' - Ill never forget the tone of Jack's voice and the size of his hands, magical! Will proceeded to distract me as I was locking up, in my absent mindedness I accidently locked Jack in the studio. 20 minutes later Will and I realized what I had done, as I rushed to get every door open I was expecting to be confronted by an angry Jack, instead I found him on the sofa, unmoved with my half smoked 'cigarette' in his mouth none the wiser he had been locked in, he then turned to Will and said 'Ive rolled one for the journey'

    Priceless, Love Paul Hunt x

  17. It was a great pleasure to know and work with Jack during his reign as Conductor & Leader of the A:T:V: Orchestra from start to Finish.His Musianship & Leadership went from strength to strength, and, most of all, he became a very good friend , I will miss him
    Dougie Robinson.

  18. In the early 60s I used to get (free)stall tickets for most of the Sunday Night at the London Palladium shows plus some Elstree shows. Bearing in mind that the shows were 'live', they must have put a lot of pressure on your Dad, but whenever I saw him at the Stage Door after the shows he was always polite. He must have thought me mad because I used to ask for his autograph every time I saw him - I loved to hear him speak as his voice is unique.
    I still have those autographs on the back of the tickets.
    When the BIJS (British Institute of Jazz Studies) was created it was my role to research Jack's life as a musician - recordings, members of his bands, dates etc. In those days there was no internet to help me. I still have the little record cards listing band personnel for each record. Also a theatre programme mentioning your Dad,that someone sent to add to the collection of information.

    I last saw him perform with the 'Ted Heath' band in Leamington Spa around 11 years ago shortly before they gave their final performance.

    He is one of those rare people that you never ever forget. My memories started around 1962/3 and will remain with me for all time. I am sure that he lives on in you all. Maxine

  19. My condolences to all the family. My mother introduced me to his music when I was very young and I still enjoy it. I believe she was a friend of the family in Sussex during the war.
    The family is very talented and I believe the legacy continues. Lesley Price

  20. Jack must have been the first drummer I ever heard as I was given a 78 record of his band playing `The Champ' and thought it was fantastic. I got some sticks and played them on the furniture pretending I was Jack! I'm sure he inspired many to start listening to jazz. Sympathies to all the Parnell family.

  21. Dear Will, Sukey, Xac and Lola, and other family who I haven't met, so sorry to hear of your loss, I never met Jack but I understand he was an amazing man who lead a long and exciting life!
    Much love from Katherine, Max, Zebedee and Gulliver Ellis xxxx

  22. Will, Sukey, Lola and Xac,
    We're Sorry to hear about Jack passing on. I'm sure he'll be sadly missed but fondly remembered by all of you.
    You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this time.
    Love, Alun, Lydia, Tamsin and Sabrina

  23. My deepest condolence to Will,Sukey, Lola, Xac and family for the departure of a much well respected and special man.

    With my love as ever, Carl R. Brown, AKA Chuck 'Silky' Brown xxx

  24. To Will, Sukey, Lola and Xac:
    My prayers are with you and my thoughts as well. Deepest sympathy and condolences. Will, all my love goes to you darling! Francoise Pascal and family xxxx

  25. It was my privilege to play with Jack for the best part of twenty years. He gave me my first "proper" jazz gigs, including Ronnies, when he could have used anyone out there. Never once did he make me feel he was doing me a favour, or that he was "big time" - even though he really was!!
    A great man. We had tea at my dad's house on the way to a gig once. Afterwards my dad said, "They say never meet your heroes...well, the opposite is true with Jack."
    A true gent. Rest in peace old boy.

  26. Dearest Suki, Will, Lola and Xac and all the rest of Jack's family. I never knew him but he was a real part of the soundtrack of my life. A true giant. My love and thoughts to all of you and great appreciation for the fabulous musical legacy he left us and which lives on in his hugely talented children.
    Thank you Jack.

    From Allegra and family

  27. Dear Will, we don't fully realize the respect for, and the influence of our fathers until they are no longer with us. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
    much love, Giles

  28. A lovely illustration of Jack's wit:
    Travelling back with him from a gig one night in the thickest fog I had ever seen, lasting for about 100 miles of the journey. Jack was driving (aged about 70) and me, in my early 20's,falling asleep in the passenger seat. I woke with a start and apologised for being such a lightweight.
    Jack said, "Sorry old boy, but I don't think it would be propitious to go any quicker." I said "Pro-what?! Have you made that up?!!" He replied, in a high-handed tone, "It means-likely to result in a favourable outcome...don't mess with me on the English language, it is a wonderful thing and I like to use precisely the right word in its proper setting...and all that bollocks!!" Beautiful!

  29. I am very saddened to hear of Jack's death. Not only was he among the key figures of the post-war mainstream entertainment industry, known by a whole generation from his ubiquitous TV appearances, but he was one of the most important contributors to the jazz scene in the UK, Britain's first genuine drums star (a la Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich) and a leader who actively encouraged his young charges in a range of delightful bands showcasing some of this countries finest talent.

    On a personal level, I was honoured to perform with Jack a couple of times at the Green Man in Rackheath, one of the nicest gigs on the circuit and which latterly became Jack's "residency".
    The last time we worked together, Jack was having trouble with the balls of his feet and was clearly in some discomfort and yet he was there, doing the gig, a mere strip of a man... approaching eighty!

    At the end of the gig he regaled us with a fund of rich anecdotes, both poignant and hilarious and, as sometimes happens in this business, I was absolutely knocked out to be there, hanging out with this icon. He was a genuinely lovely guy and a true one-off and will be much missed.

    God bless you, Jack!

    Simon Spillett

  30. I was very sorry to hear about Jack´s death. I used to see him on TV a lot when I was growing up and learning to play, and I stole as many of his licks as I could! He was the first drummer I ever saw change the pitch of a tom with his elbow, and I´ll remember him doing it forever. He was a great player, a great bandleader and I´m sorry I never got a chance to meet him.

    I wish Mark and the rest of the family all the best at this difficult time.

  31. I pen these few words on behalf of the Southwold Jazz Festival organisers, who are sad at the loss of such a truly stellar gentleman, but proud to have known him personally as a 'local boy'. Jack's support for our SJF and Jazz At The Pier projects, and of local jazzers generally, will not readily be forgotten. His legendary humour was widely appreciated, not only on the local music scene but also at Southwold Golf Club: he wasn't a bad golfer either!!

  32. Dearest Will,Suki,lola and Xac Sending you all our love and deepest sympathy.we never got to know your dad,but his music has always been a part of our lives,and will always be you lots Dan and Custard <3 <3 <3

  33. Jack came to the Pavilion Big Band in Norwich several times to pass on his advice and also gave us the huge honour of playing for us too. He very kindly wrote a piece of music, 'Just for You' for the band, and we shall now be playing it in tribute to him at all our gigs in Norfolk/Suffolk.
    I'll never forget the stories he had to tell. Legend is the only word to use!
    Kind regards from Mary White and everyone in the Pavilion Big Band.

  34. What can I say about Jack that wouldn't make him smile? Urbane, imperturbable, he wielded his baton like the drummer he was. Quiet, but when he spoke, you listened. I enjoyed his company as much as I enjoyed his music - and that's a lot. Cheers, Jack.

  35. Jack stayed with me for a few days in Anglesea. circa 1991 he was up with Dean Masser for some gigs in North Wales. We had drums and golf in common,a friendly word of advice helped my bunker shots. A nice guy. Tommy Thomas

  36. I was fortunate to be a member of Jack's ATV band for many years.He was an inspiration to a group of highly talented musicians which made this the best band in the country, it was all down to him..........He was one of us, never aloof, or 'big time' as so many others could be. A true leader and dear friend who will be sadly missed by the few of us that remain. God bless you Jack.

  37. Gloria Cunningham08 August, 2011 01:45

    I've always been aware of Jack Parnell's music, yet what I've seen and heard is only a drop in the ocean of his vast work.

    I never met Jack but I'm fortunate to know one of his sons. I can see some similarities.. the exceptional musical talent, the sharp wit, the ability to tell jokes and stories - not to mention the good looks and great hair!

    Even when a family member's death is not unexpected, it still carries the same sense of loss. I was very sorry to hear that Jack passed away last August. One year on, I hope there is still some comfort in knowing that others remember and are thinking of you all.

    The valley of grief runs deep. We can only try to fill it with the happiest of memories!

  38. tony duggan-smith27 March, 2012 23:18

    There is a lot of music and art flowing in the Parnell genes that go on in the young. I am part of the Mutch family from Kent which is intertwined with the Parnells. My mother is an amazing visual artist, I have had a cool career in art, music and film for a good many years and my own kids are both brimming with creativity. I'm sure if all the extended family got together sometime we could create a pretty spectacular event. I only just now found out about Jacks passing as I live in Canada and have been for over thirty years, so consider this my belated condolences and here is to Jack and a life well lived and expressed!