Maxi Jazz, lead singer for the British electronic music group Faithless, died Friday, the band confirmed on Facebook. Jazz, whose real name was Maxwell Fraser, “died peacefully in his sleep” at his south London home, Faithless member Sister Bliss announced on Twitter. A cause of death was not revealed. Jazz was 65.
He was a man who changed our lives in so many ways. He gave proper meaning and message to our music,” Faithless members Rollo and Sister Bliss said in a statement on Facebook.
“He was also a lovely human being with time for everyone and a wisdom that was both profound and accessible,” adding “He was a brilliant lyricist, a DJ, a Buddhist , a magnificent stage presence, car lover, endless talker, beautiful person, moral compass and genius.”
Jazz formed Faithless in 1995, along with Rollo Armstrong, Jamie Catto and Sister Bliss. He was lead vocalist in the band from 1995 to 2011 and again in 2015.
In the group’s 1995 song “Insomnia”, Jazz raps about struggling to sleep with the refrain “I can’t get no sleep.” The hit sold more than a million copies and was voted the fifth-greatest dance record of all time by readers of dance music magazine Mixmag in 2013.
In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, Jazz explained how “Insomnia” came to be.
Jazz said he’d received a call from Rollo asking if he could write some lyrics for the track. “I spent 20 minutes with a pad jotting down my thoughts, finished the lyrics in the studio the following evening, then spent about 25 minutes putting the vocals down,” he said. “That was it.”
He also noted that the first line “Deep in the bosom of the gentle night” was a change forced on the group by MTV, which felt that the original line — “I only smoke weed when I need to” – was too graphic.
British DJ MistaJam paid tribute to Jazz on Twitter. “I only met him IRL once and he was the kindest man with such an aura about him,” MistaJam wrote. “His words and performances touched so many of us and he’ll be sorely missed. “