Dido's Lament
Cover of H. Purcell
Thy hand, belinda, darkness shades me.
On thy bosom let me rest.
More I would, but death invades me.
Death is now a welcome guest.

When I am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble in thy breast.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
from Purcells opera 'Dido & Aeneas'.

'I hope that people who liked him resist the temptation to turn his life and death into some dumb romantic fantasy--he was so much better than that. Not everyone can get up and sing something they take a liking to and make it their own, sing true to their heart and be curious about all different strains of music. Corpus Christi Carol was a completely conceived interpretation. I'd never heard the piece before and when I heard the original I realised what Jeff had done was even more amazing. He'd taken it into his own world. That's something my favorite classical musicians can do, be themselves but use all that expertise to make the music more beautiful. Jeff did that naturally. Only a handful of people are capable of that.

I was amazed when he did meltdown. I asked him what he wanted to sing and he said he'd like to do one of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder in the original German! Absolutely fucking fearless. He was convinced he could sing it without rehearsal, just because he liked it. In the end he did a Purcell song, Dido's Lament, which is in danger of sounding incredibly poignant in retrospect: 'Remember me but forget my fate.' But he also sand Boy With the Thorn In His Side because he liked it, and Grace to show something of himself.

When he started singing Dido's Lament at the rehearsal, there were all these classical musicians who could not believe it. Here's a guy shuffling up on-stage and singing a piece of music normally thought to be the property of certain types of specifically developed voice, and he's just singing, not doing it like a party piece, but doing something with it.

My last memory of him was at the little party in the green room afterwards. There were all these people sitting round Jeff who'd never met before - Fretwork, the viol group, a classical pianist and some jazz player --all talking and laughing about music. He'd charmed everybody. I'd much rather remember that than anything.' -- Elvis Costello (MOJO Magazine, August 1997, speaking of Jeff at the Meltdown festival)
Known Performance:
95-07-01 Queen Elizabeth Hall, Meltdown Festival (night), London, , England