Maxi Jazz, the singer and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work with the electronic band Faithless, has died, The Guardian and Rolling Stone report. Members of Faithless also confirmed the news on social media earlier today (December 24). “We are heartbroken to share that Maxi died peacefully in his sleep last night,” Faithless keyboardist Sister Bliss tweeted. Maxi Jazz was 65 years old.
Maxi Jazz was born Maxwell Frasier born in Brixton, London, in 1957. He got his start as a musician in the 1980s, performing with his band, the Soul Food Cafe System, and hosting a hip-hop show called In the Soul Kitchen With DJ Maxi Jazz on the pirate radio station Reach FM. He later started the label Namu Records to release music from the Soul Food Cafe System, and toured Europe with the group.
Jazz formed Faithless with Rollo Armstrong, Sister Bliss, and Jamie Catto in 1995. The group released its first album, Reverence, one year later, and it included the hits “Insomnia” and “Salva Mea.” The album peaked at No. 26 on the UK albums chart, with “Insomnia” rising to No. 3 on the UK singles chart and No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album’s breakthrough success was followed by Sunday 8PM in 1998 and Outrospective in 2001, with Catto leaving the band in 1999. The latter LP included the song “We Come 1,” which peaked at No. 3 on the UK singles chart and was popular throughout Europe. Faithless continued to release new music through following three decades, with Jazz contributing vocals on the band’s 2010 album, The Dance, before leaving the group.
In 2015, Jazz founded the band Maxi Jazz & The E-Type Boys. The group released one album, Simple..Not Easy, in 2016, as well as various singles, and performed at festivals across Europe.
In a statement posted to their official Facebook page, the surviving members of Faithless paid tribute to Maxi Jazz: “He was a man who changed our lives in so many ways. He gave proper meaning and message to our music.”
“He was also a lovely human being with time for everyone and a wisdom that was both profound and accessible. It was an honor and, of course, a true pleasure to work with him,” the statement continued. “He was a brilliant lyricist, DJ, Buddhist, a magnificent stage presence, car lover, endless talker, beautiful person, moral compass, and genius.”