Faithless singer Maxi Jazz has died aged 65, his bandmates have confirmed in a statement posted to Facebook.
“We are heartbroken to say Maxi Jazz died last night,” Rollo and Sister Bliss wrote in the post. “He was a man who changed our lives in so many ways. He gave proper meaning and message to our music.
“He was a lovely human being with time for everyone and a wisdom that was both profound and accessible. It was an honour and, of course, a true pleasure to work with him. He was a brilliant lyricist, a DJ, a Buddhist, a magnificent stage presence, car lover, endless talker, beautiful person, moral compass and genius.”
We are heartbroken to say Maxi Jazz died last night. He was a man who changed our lives in so many ways. He gave proper…
Posted by Faithless on Saturday, December 24, 2022
Writing on Twitter, Sister Bliss added: “Sending love to all of you who shared our musical journey. Look after each other y’hear.” She also shared in her tweet that Jazz had “died peacefully in his sleep”.
Maxi Jazz 1957 – 2022. We are heartbroken to share that Maxi died peacefully in his sleep last night. Sending love to all of you who shared our musical journey. Look after each other y’hear. 🙏💔 pic.twitter.com/4R88rg8Aza
— sister bliss (@thesisterbliss) December 24, 2022
Jazz was born in Brixton in 1957 and started DJing as The Soul Food Cafe System in 1984, with The Soul Food Cafe Band signed to Tam Tam Records in 1989. The band went on to support the likes of Jamiroquai, Soul II Soul and more, and released an album, ‘Original Groovejuice Vol. 1’ in 1996. However, they disbanded shortly after.
In 1995, Jazz formed Faithless with Rollo and Sister Bliss, releasing their debut album ‘Reverence’ in 1996. Its follow-up, 1998’s ‘Sunday 8pm’, went on to be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, while it also spawned the hit single ‘God Is A DJ’ and earned the group a nomination for the BRIT Award for Best British Dance Act in 1999.
In 2002, the trio gave a legendary performance on Glastonbury’s iconic Pyramid Stage off the back of their third album ‘Outrospective’, which was released a year prior. Their cultural force was proved once again in 2005 when the group’s greatest hits album ‘Forever Faithless’ went four times platinum and became the best-selling dance album of 2005.
Their power remained high afterwards, with the band headlining California’s Coachella Festival in 2017 and collaborating with the likes of Cat Power and The Cure’s Robert Smith on their fifth album, ‘To All New Arrivals’. In 2020, after a seven-year break, they returned with their seventh record, ‘All Blessed’.
In 2015, Faithless formed a new band called Maxi Jazz & The E-Type Boys, in which he sang and played guitar. He also enjoyed a sporadic solo career, first releasing singles in the late eighties, up to this year with the Vintage Culture collaboration ‘Commotion’.
He became the associate director of Crystal Palace FC, of whom he was a lifelong fan, in 2012. The club has already confirmed it will pay tribute to Jazz at their match this week. “We are mourning the loss of legendary musician Maxi Jazz, who has passed away at the age of 65,” it said in a statement. “The team will walk out to Faithless on Boxing Day in tribute.”
The star was also the subject of a painting by British artist Joe Simpson, which was exhibited across the UK, including at the Royal Albert Hall. After it was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award, it was also displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.
Tributes have begun to be paid online to Jazz. “So sad to learn Maxi Jazz has passed away,” DJ Dave Pearce wrote on Twitter. “Faithless were an iconic force in UK dance music from the mid 90’s and touched so many lives. Throughout their meteoric rise to fame Maxi remained a warm, cool, friendly soul – dance music’s poet – thoughts with his family and friends RIP.”
So sad to learn Maxi Jazz has passed away. Faithless were an iconic force in UK dance music from the mid 90's and touched so many lives. Throughout their meteoric rise to fame Maxi remained a warm, cool, friendly soul – dance music's poet- thoughts with his family and friends RIP pic.twitter.com/3Iiz0FmQYi
— Dave Pearce (@dj_davepearce) December 24, 2022
MistaJam added: “I only met him IRL once and he was the kindest man with such an aura about him. His words and performances touched so many of us and he’ll be sorely missed. Love to @thesisterbliss and the whole @faithless family. Rest in Power Maxi Jazz.”
I only met him IRL once and he was the kindest man with such an aura about him. His words and performances touched so many of us and he’ll be sorely missed. Love to @thesisterbliss and the whole @faithless family. Rest in Power Maxi Jazz 🙏🏾🖤 pic.twitter.com/QB2AvYq5Qx
— mistajam (@mistajam) December 24, 2022
See more tributes below.
We have just sadly learned of the passing of Maxi Jazz.
Best known for being the lead vocalist in Electronic band ‘Faithless’. Maxi toured with us back in 2017 with his band ‘Maxi Jazz & the E-Type Boys’.
📸 @MattMC40 pic.twitter.com/eJmG5Q3SfA
— UB40 (@UB40OFFICIAL) December 24, 2022
“Ripping off tights with my teeth” is such a great fucking lyric. RIP #Maxijazz
— Jamie East (@jamieeast) December 24, 2022
What incredibly sad news to hear of the passing of Maxi Jazz. An incredible person and a wonderful supporter of the FAC and the artist community.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family. Rest in peace ❤️ https://t.co/VVeiVtFtpH
— The FAC (@FeaturedArtists) December 24, 2022
If you are a certain age, this is one of the greatest dance songs ever. RIP Maxi Jazz. pic.twitter.com/BkCYIGEkp1
— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) December 24, 2022
We are mourning the loss of legendary musician Maxi Jazz, who has passed away at the age of 65.
The team will walk out to Faithless on Boxing Day in tribute. pic.twitter.com/zxLEkLwkMN
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) December 24, 2022
Sending love to @thesisterbliss and the @faithless family
Rest In Power Maxi Jazz 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/N5P1padqgl
— Rowetta🎙 (@Rowetta) December 24, 2022
Rest In Power Maxi Jazz. No one else could turn stadiums into raves moving in unison to pure wisdom and conscious poetry. A Buddhist philosopher, race car driver and a giant of a man.
— iTCH (@itchsspeeches) December 24, 2022
RIP Maxi Jazz what an incredible talent and a complete gent ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/zd0UVLjAXL
— Judge Jules (@RealJudgeJules) December 24, 2022
Dance music's poet.
Rest in peace Maxi Jazz, lead singer of British dance act Faithless. Thank you for your pivotal role in the world of British electronica.
Our thoughts are with Faithless and his family and friends 🖤 pic.twitter.com/RAXP0GVeDS
— Rough Trade (@RoughTrade) December 24, 2022
So sad to hear of the passing of Maxi Jazz of @faithless, a man full of musical talent & political solidarity, an enthusiastic supporter of Love Music Hate Racism. As the band say “He gave proper meaning and message to our music."
Thoughts with his family, friends and band mates pic.twitter.com/MNBl0z94As
— LoveMusic HateRacism (@lmhrnational) December 24, 2022
I’m so sad to hear the passing of maxi jazz. I was lucky enough to meet him, a bit of a hero to me! Such an inspiration, a legend, icon. Your music will live on forever. 😔
Rest in peace 🙏 pic.twitter.com/lbsofdMc0l
— Genix (@GenixDJ) December 24, 2022
No, no, no. We’ve lost an icon of our time. #MaxiJazz. @faithless my teenage years were bless with joy of one the best #house tunes ever. Heart broken at this news. RIP Maxi. Time to sleep legend. Thank you for inspiring. pic.twitter.com/v8cejkg1pH
— Ritchie Neville (@RitchieNeville) December 24, 2022
This is a developing story and will be updated