Today as the Portland Jazz Festival was at its midpoint came the call I’ve been dreading. Jack Berry is dead. Since we were in the early stages of our careers during my Portland years in the 1960s, Jack and I have been friends whose closeness was never affected by distance. As I batted around the country from news job to news job, our friendship was not allowed to dim. He was a perceptive writer on jazz and any other subject he chose to approach, and over the years he has been quoted many times in Rifftides. He was a historian, a producer, a guitarist, a champion raconteur. He knew with amazing thoroughness about literature, film and music. He was the world’s leading expert on Jim Pepper and leaves his biography of the saxophonist uncompleted, a regrettable loss. The emphysema that had dogged Jack for years finally completed its terrible work. For an appreciation of a rare human being, see Tom D’Antoni’s piece in Oregon Music News. To find Jack in Rifftides, enter his name in the search bar at the top of the right column.