British jazz bassist and composer Graham Collier has died suddenly at the age of 74.

Born in Tynemouth in 1937, he became an army musician after leaving school at the age of 16. He then won a scholarship to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, becoming its first British graduate in 1963.

On his return to Britain he formed Graham Collier Music, the first of many bands of that name that were dedicated to performing his compositions. During his career he recorded 19 albums and collaborated with ensembles including the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra and the NDR Big Band.

He was also influential as a jazz educator. He wrote seven books on jazz, jazz history, composition techniques and education. In 1986 he founded the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London, having previously developed a six-year jazz degree course at the Sibelius Institute in Helsinki.

Collier was awarded an OBE in 1987. He remained at the RAM as artistic director until 1999, before moving to Spain, and later Greece, where he continued to compose and travel internationally to present concerts and workshops.