Variety reporter and jazz composer dies at 94

Howard Lucraft penned column 'Under and Overtones'

Jazz composer and former Variety reporter Howard Lucraft died on Feb. 4. He was 94.

Lucraft first came to fame in England as an orchestra leader for the BBC. In addition to regular national broadcasts with his own groups, he composed, arranged, scripted and emceed special BBC shows.

He immigrated to the U.S. to compose and arrange for records, TV and radio, including commercials. Early credits include compositions and arrangements for Stan Kenton, Anita O’Day, Ray Noble and Los Angeles TV stations KTTV and KABC. Lucraft’s specially commissioned “Los Angeles Jazz Suite” premiered at the Hollywood Bowl. His bands were heard on various record labels following his initial recordings in the U.S. on the Decca (MCA) label and were seen on TV.

Lucraft’s radio programs have been broadcast over KABC, KBCA, KCBH, KKGO, KLON and KNOB. His “Jazz International” show for American Forces Radio drew more than 100 million listeners. Other outlets included a syndicated series with transmission in 163 U.S. cities.

Lucraft was the California employee of London-based Odhams Press, publisher of the Daily Herald and the Sun, for 20 years. Concurrently, for 11 years, Lucraft was the West Coast editor of Advertising Age.

Following Ad Age Lucraft worked as reviewer, feature writer and reporter for Variety, penning the column “Under and Overtones,” on film, music and advertising. Howard wrote his Variety reviews under the pseudonym “Luc.”

In addition to the London Daily Herald and the Sun, other music writing credits included Down Beat, Jazz Journal, Jazz Times, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Los Angeles Times, Melody Maker, Metronome and Overture.

Howard was an active member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. since 1953. He was elected president of the Hollywood Press Club a record three times.

He was a lifetime member and former VP and executive director of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), as well as a member of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) and Motion Picture Assn. of America

Lucraft was educated in England at Tollington Park College, which was affiliated with London U. He furthered his education at UCLA.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Masako Ogata.

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