Hundreds fill church as Wisbech says goodbye to inspirational teacher and ‘music legend’

MOURNERS filled St Augustine’s Church this week as Wisbech said goodbye to a “music legend” who inspired hundreds of young guitarists.

Michael ‘Jazz’ Ball spent more than two decades teaching people to play the electric guitar. He died this month, aged 46, after being diagnosed with cancer late last year.

Jazz was known as one of the most talented musicians in Wisbech and played in several bands including Euphoria, Hair of the Dog and Sphere.

Around 300 people attended his funeral on Monday as tributes continued to pour in on a memorial Facebook group.

Lifelong friend Mo posted: “I shut my eyes and we are back at school, two young kids thrown together by school and a love of punk rock.

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“From then on I blink to numerous gigs, parties and just sitting about laughing - days around your house with your wonderful family, who virtually adopted every young punk and skinhead in Wisbech with a smile and a cup of tea.

He added: “I never paid Jazz for one guitar lesson, yet got a thousand free ones for being his mate.

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“He taught me everything.”

It was standing room only for Monday’s funeral as recorded music from Jazz’s band Euphoria rang out from the church in a final goodbye. His girlfriend Sofia Ezequiel thanked everyone who paid their respects.

She said: “I’m sure wherever he is, he’s proper chuffed that so many people came for him to show their love and respect.”

Lil, Jazz’s brother, thanked the hundreds of people who had left their memories of the guitarist on Facebook.

In his own tribute, he said: “If we all had just half his patience, half his way with people the world would be a much better place.

“Even throughout his illness he never complained, he didn’t give all the ‘why me?’ like the rest of us would. He just carried on making music.

“So if you find yourself getting irate about something just stop for a second and ask yourself ‘what would Jazz have done?’”

• Leave your tribute to Jazz below.

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