Jez Rowden ~ RIP


JEZ ROWDEN – Our friend and editor at The Progressive Aspect sadly unexpectedly died on 10th March 2024.

A JustGiving page has been set up in memory of Jez by collecting donations towards the British Heart Foundation:

The family kindly allowed me to say a few words on behalf of TPA at his Wake, which I would like to share with you here. They’re not word for word: all I used were a few notes as aide memoires at the time, and frankly I was in bits for some of it. But, this is generally what I wanted to say on behalf of all of his other family – The Progressive Aspect.

Jez the gig goer

Some will not know this lovely and great man so who was he?

Jez previously wrote for DPRP but left them to establish TPA in 2013 with Roger Trenwith and Bob Mulvey. Together they have built TPA to become one of THE pre-eminent Progressive Rock Review websites, much of which was down to Jez.

Jez as a WRITER…
Jez was SO articulate, insightful, succinct, witty – and honest (he was largely a positive writer but was honest when needed – have a read of his justifiably scathing review of Yes’s execrable ‘Heaven and Earth’ album in 2014!)

Jez as an EXPLORER…
Jez was out there exploring more obscure, unusual music for us all. He was open minded and had no boundaries which means he did like some weird stuff!

Jez Rowden the adventurer

Jez as a CHAMPION…
Jez was a Champion of lesser-known bands, encouraging artists and recommending them to people. For example, I asked TPA’s Pete Rogers how he met Jez. He reminded me I’d introduced him to Jez at a Steven Wilson gig a few years ago. That day he told Jez he had discovered Wilson’s previous band Porcupine Tree when he went into Our Price Records in Swansea in 1997 and heard songs from the then relatively unknown Porcupine Tree’s ‘Stupid Dream’ album being played. He had never heard anything like them, loved it and went up to the counter to immediately buy the album. For Pete, that event turned him on to Progressive Rock.

Jez then told Pete it was almost certain it was he who had served him at that till counter in 1997, as he worked there and would ‘slip in’ to the shop playlist albums and artists not officially on the Our Price play list! Jez’s influence goes back a long way and impacted people in various ways far and wide it would seem.

Jez as a FRIEND…
In TPA we will remember Jez most of all as a GREAT FRIEND.


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He was warm, positive and sometimes acerbically funny, supportive, patient, wise, insightful. Did I mention funny?! There have been times when tears have been flowing down our faces we laughed so much, especially at our shared Summers End Festival experiences or at the many gigs we shared with him. He was ‘Gig Buddy’ to so many of us over the years, and despite months in between it always felt like we had only seen him yesterday.

The sympathy of TPA sincerely goes out to Jez’s wonderful wife Paula and his children and stepchildren Alice, Grace, Chris and Heather. Our condolences go to all his family and friends from TPA.

TPA also thanks you for ‘lending’ us Jez at TPA. I expect his TPA activities probably drove you a bit bonkers, but he loved it and we really do appreciate it in TPA. Special thoughts particularly come from long-time TPA collaborators Bob Mulvey and Rob Fisher who cannot be here but are thinking about Jez today.

I was wondering how to sum up Jez for all those that knew him (and for those reading this who never had that privilege)?

Eventually I concluded it was probably best to let Jez do it for us.

Jez’s lovely daughter Alice shared on FB one of Jez’s live reviews of a Gong show he took Alice and her husband to, and with her permission I share below a slightly edited version of Jez’s fabulous review. Jez went to gigs literally to the end, attending a gig the night before he was taken from us. I think this review sums up Jez perfectly – his exuberance, his articulate but down to Earth writing skills (you really get a sense of what it felt like to be there). It touches on his obvious love of family and, of course, it absolutely underlines his LOVE of Music.

Alice Robbins – FB 22nd March:
Dad wrote this amazing piece (amongst so many others) about the experience. This piece perfectly sums up Dad, shows his amazing ability to write and emphasises his profound love (not a strong enough word!) for music:


“What would a perfect gig look like?

Well, for a start the band would need to be on their ‘A’ game. The crowd has to be fully in tune with what the band are doing, supportive and properly up for it. The sound has to be excellent – that’s a given – but the material played also needs to have the capacity to draw you in and take you away to unexpected places. Oh, and it helps if the venue is unusual, slightly eccentric yet comfortable – like a well kitted out boat, for example.

Bingo! If this wasn’t the perfect gig then it was so tantalisingly close that it makes no difference.

Walking into the bowels of the Good Ship Thekla – there was a definite buzz in the air, a significant crew of expectant pixies (both young and old) in attendance, drawn to this place in anticipation of phantasmagorical events.”

“The audience was completely on message and all too happy to be cast adrift in the endless seas of space and time, Kavus urging us to use our combined energy to levitate the boat and turn it into a rocket ship, or sink it, or both, either option a conceivable reality… Having taken along my daughter and her partner, without much build up to what they might expect, I think it’s fair to say that they didn’t expect what they got!”

“From an audience perspective, it was transcendental, with a full-on groove and much dancing throughout. Voices were raised in glorious unison for “Rejoice!”, and during Kavus’ heartfelt invocation that “Music is Magic” I felt tears rolling down my face.”

“Music is the nearest I’ll ever get to religion, and the spiritual dimension shone through very brightly tonight.

Music IS Magic.

As Kavus surveyed the blissed-out crowd at his feet, he remarked that this was exactly the reason why he joined a band in the first place. And this is also the reason why I will continue to attend and fully enjoy evenings like this for as long as humanly possible.
For those few hours the cares of the f*cked-up world outside faded from our thoughts, and upon emerging out of our cocoon of uplifting vibes onto the quayside, the world felt a better place. A completely life affirming show.”

Thanks Jez – we’ll miss you

(The King Crimson ‘Discipline’ badge was given out by Jez’s family at the Wake)

Jez's King Crimson badge

Jez wrote two excellent books in Sonicbond’s “every album, every song” series: Steely Dan and Aimee Mann

Jez Rowden Books