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Jack Maher Dies

Jack Maher, who for over 30 years held the title of publisher at Down Beat magazine and its parent company, Maher Publications, died Feb. 14 at Good Samaritan Hospital in suburban Downers Grove, Ill. The cause of death was not specified; he was 78.

Founded in 1934 as a publication that covered the swing-band scene, Down Beat was forfeited by its original owner to the magazine’s printer, Maher’s father, who died in 1968. Using his own money, Maher acquired Down Beat-outbidding no less than Hugh Hefner-and quickly changed a number of the magazine’s policies like that which forbade pictures of black jazz artists on the cover.

During the 1970s, when jazz faced its largest identity crisis (due to the rise of fusion), Maher had Down Beat cover music forms outside of jazz-funk, R&B, even rock. The magazine has since become a mainstream jazz publication again. Last year Maher appointed longtime Down Beat staff member Frank Alkyer as his successor as publisher.

Maher is survived by his wife, Pat, a sister and six


Originally Published