Keith Morris Tribute Pages

What Keith said about Schmazz

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Keith's work       

Photographs at the memorial event on 27th June 2005 

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Tragic death of Keith Morris the founder of Schmazz

<Keith and his friend and fellow-musician Joe Scurfield, were killed in a hit & run incident late on the evening of Wednesday 8th June 2005. Our thoughts go out to the families of both musicians.

It was Keith who established the monthly ‘Schmazz @ the Cluny’ gigs towards the end of 1999, and ran them for the next four years. Even when he decided to pass on the responsibility to a small committee in order to concentrate on other musical activities, he maintained a close interest, and it was his vision that continued to guide the Schmazz programme.

But that was just one part of Keith’s gift to the musical life of the area. He was a superb multi-instrumentalist (one recording lists him as contributing soprano, alto & baritone saxes, guitar, keyboard, cuatro, panpipes, percussion and vocals), a great bandleader (his own performances for Schmazz were always one of the highlights of the year), and a wonderful composer, who was equally adept at straight jazz work, music for theatre, and song settings. He was, in fact, one of the finest all-round musicians not just in the North-East, but anywhere in Britain, and was increasingly receiving commissions from elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

Most of all, though, Keith was one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, endlessly supportive of the other musicians with whom he worked, or whom he booked for gigs at Schmazz. He will be mourned and missed by everybody who ever had the privilege of working with him.

Keith is irreplaceable, but his legacy lives on. Those of us who now organise the Schmazz gigs will try to continue programming the kind of original, stimulating music to which he was so committed, as our way of saying “Thank you Keith”.


Celebration Concerts at The Sage Gateshead

on Saturday 22nd April 2006


'For twenty years, Keith Morris was one of Tyneside’s most prolific composers and music facilitators.As a member of Grand Union he toured nationally and internationally. His tragic death, as the result of a hit and run accident in June 2005 along with another much-loved Tyneside musician Joe Scurfield, left everyone stunned. These concerts celebrate some of Keith’s music: the 5pm concert features works Keith created for community choirs and some of his songs. The 8pm concert features music for instrumental ensembles, including songs. We hope these tributes will help establish this music as a major resource for the Northeast.'

<5pm Choirs and Songs      Northern Rock Foundation Hall     £6 (£3 with 8pm ticket)

8pm  Songs and Instrumentals          Hall Two    £12         £6 standing

The Sage Gateshead Website


When, together with fellow musician Joe Scurfield, Keith Morris was killed in a hit and run accident in June 2005, the news was hard to take in. Much loved, Keith inspired so many on Tyneside and elsewhere, as a composer as a player and as a teacher. Raising self-deprecation to an art form, he brought humour, integrity and love to his work with groups, orchestras, political cabaret, theatre companies and choirs. He wrote his own words and he loved collaborating with poets, lyricists and playwrights. His own line-ups included Plain Truth, the Kent Moped Orchestra (after seeing his name in Cyrillic) and Metal. He was a central force in Red Music, in Grand Union Orchestra and in Big People. He set up Schmazz to promote innovative jazz in Newcastle.


Put together by Lewis Watson and Katharine Zeserson, THIS SONG  is a celebration of his music by friends and collaborators: instrumentalists, singers and composers he loved working with and who loved working with him.



 Updated 30th March 2011