UK DJ, record collector, and compiler Dez Parkes has passed away, a friend of the late musician confirmed on Facebook on Saturday, November 12.
While the cause of death is currently unclear, friend of Parkes and director of The Soul Survives Magazine, Fitzroy Anthoney Facey, confirmed the news to friends and fans over the weekend.
“It’s with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of our beloved friend, the legendary Dez Parkes, our brother in music who sadly passed away today,” Facey posted.
“The family are still processing this massive loss so please respect their privacy at this sad time”. Beneath the post, Facey added: “I’m sure Dez’s family appreciate your kind and thoughtful words so I’m sure you’ll understand if they do not comment on the post.”
Dez Parkes was known for his lifelong contribution to the UK’s rare groove scene, and renowned for his expansive collection primarily made up of rare American cuts in R&B, funk, jazz, and soul.
Parkes played a key part in the scene through his collection of extremely rare music. He was dubbed the ‘walking encyclopaedia of music’ by friends after three decades of working and mentoring in dance music.
As well as his career as a dancer, DJ, and collector, Parkes curated many compilations over the years for labels including RCA and Ace Records and later created his own record label.
Parkes was introduced to dance music by his father, who also collected works covering the spectrum of Black music, and quickly learned the art of DJing in the 1970s after working as a dancer at clubs including Crackers, Birds Nest and the Whisky A Go Go (now known as The Wag).
Friends of the late DJ and collector have paid tribute following his death. Read them below.
Dez Parkes was one of the most respected soul DJs in the country & one the UK’s most knowledgeable sources of music information.
He was also one of the driving forces behind the RARE LP series which introduced many to the rare groove genre.
RIP Sir & thank you for the music pic.twitter.com/4EOmJejt71
— Lorraine King (@lorrainemking) November 11, 2022
Truly sorry to hear about the death of Dez Parkes, one of those quietly influential London DJs whose knowledge and love for black music was fathoms deep. RIP
— Bill Brewster (@djhistory) November 12, 2022
Just heard of the sad passing of Dez Parkes. Hero on the dance floor, aces behind the decks, a man who knew his boogie tunes, and who helped keep the memory of his mate Laurie Cunningham alive (see @D1fferentClass brilliant book) pic.twitter.com/MwS4adh3SX
— Mark Webster (@ItsMarkWebster) November 12, 2022
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins