Jack Berry RIP

120x149xJack,P20Berry-thumb-120x149-12238.jpg.pagespeed.ic.sAYpEXnCmuToday 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 withJack Berry 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.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit


  1. Valerie Bishop says

    I offer my sincere condolences to you, Doug, on the loss of your friend, Jack Berry. This was obviously a sad loss for the jazz community as well.

  2. Anna Berry-Leon says

    Thank you so much for the beautiful article about Dad. Talking with you on Monday made him so very happy. I miss him.

    We have a tentative plan to have a memorial/wake on April 13, which would have been his 78th birthday.

  3. Sarah Berry says

    Your work was an great source of happiness for my Dad. A great source! Crazy days. So much love to you.

  4. Ron Thorne says

    Sorry for your loss, Doug. I didn’t know Jack, but I knew of his wonderful work and his special connection with a mutual friend … Jim Pepper. Condolences to Jack’s family and many friends.