A JAZZ promoter known as "Uncle Bonny" has died aged 91.

Bonny Manzi was a well known character in Brighton in the 1960s to 80s, owning and promoting several clubs in the 60 years he lived in the city.

Often known as Mr Brighton, Bonaventura Giuseppe Michelangelo Dominique Juan Alessandro Manzi, Bonny for short, was a man with a "joyful spirit that gave people happiness wherever he went and with whatever he did", said his family.

He promoted music and ran bars for most of his life and was a big influence on musicians and everyone he met.

The Argus: Bonny and his fatherBonny and his father

Born in Islington in 1930 to an Italian family, he worked from 12 years old to support them.

As a young man he joined the RAF and in the Entertainments Corps he found his love for putting smiles on people's faces.

When Bonny left the service he began promoting music and putting on music evenings around the country.

He famously championed trad jazz and founded and ran the Chinese Jazz Club in Brighton – his daughter Rachel says no one knows why he chose this name but as ever he created a unique experience that is still remembered by many today.

The Argus: Bonny and his grandchildrenBonny and his grandchildren

Bonny's trademark was his boater hat and he always had a pipe or cigar on the go, which he continued throughout his life. He also coined the term “rave gear” where he encouraged his clientele to come in fancy dress and dance throughout the night.

He promoted all the greats of his time – The Temperance 7, Ken Collier, Chris Barber, Kenneth Washington, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk.

Bonny met his beloved wife Sue when he was putting on an event at the Aquarium in Brighton. He focused his efforts there and jumped on the R&B craze at the time.

He held many nights at the Florida Rooms at the Aquarium and Concorde with major artists like Spencer Davies, Mahalia Jackson, Shirley Bassey, Van Morrison, The Who, The Cream, Pink Floyd, John Lee Hooker.

The Argus: Bonny with Shirley BasseyBonny with Shirley Bassey

His family said Bonny always said that Rod Stewart still owed him £5 from when he bought him and the band fish and chips.

Bonny and Sue then took on the Concorde Bar, which was originally opposite the Palace Pier, and the Tivoli Tea Rooms permanently. The music continued but, in his eyes more importantly, a whole community was created.

The bar was reportedly known as a haven for locals and businesses and all the seafront venues utilised the bar as their office.

Lifelong friends were made and these were treasured by all the Manzi family.

The city was busy in Bonny's time when people still holidayed in the UK in the 60s, 70s and 80s and coaches would start arriving on the seafront at 5am and would not leave till the early hours.

The Argus: The Evening Argus in February 1980The Evening Argus in February 1980

Working through the Mods and Rockers in the 1960s and 1970s, the Athina B running aground on the beach in 1968, the Red Arrows disaster in 1980, Brighton's football cup final in 1983 and many others events for the city, Bonny continued his entrepreneurial style, creating cocktails and events ensuring journalists and local film crews were always invited.

Newspaper clippings show many reports in The Argus throughout Bonny's career.

Bonny, who had five children, was never too busy to help and support others. He held charity fundraisers often and raised large amounts of money for a variety of causes such as RNLI, Chailey Heritage and many others.

He also put on a Christmas party every year in the Concorde for local children and even now these parties are fondly remembered.

The Argus: Bonny and his beloved wife SueBonny and his beloved wife Sue

In the late 1980s Bonny retired, although his family said "you couldn't hold him down".

He drove an ambulance for Chailey Heritage school for disabled children and was the chairman of the Brighton and Hove Entertainments committee.

Sue and Bonny lived out their later years in peace surrounded by their loving family and lots of music. Sue died last year and Bonny followed her on November 11.

He is survived by four of his children, seven grandchildren, and nephews and nieces.

Bonny's funeral will be held on December 10 at 11am at Downs Crematorium and the family say well wishers are welcome.

Floral Tributes from Co-op Funeral Care, Tunbridge Wells, are to be donated to a hospice after the service.

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