Jackie Orszaczky, a prominent Sydney-based jazz-funk bass player, producer and arranger, died Feb. 3 after a two-year battle with leukemia. He was 59.

The artist played his last show at the Macquarie Hotel on Jan. 24, and was admitted to hospital four days later after collapsing at home.

Orszaczky was born in Budapest, Hungary, and learned to play violin and piano at the age of five. But he was more interested in the music made in the gypsy-dominated suburb of Josephtown where he grew up. At high school he and his brother formed a rock band which was inspired by the sounds of the British pop bands beamed from the London-based pirate station Radio Luxembourg.

He later formed a progressive rock act Syrius, and moved to Australia in 1970 at the encouragement of Australian record producer Charles Fischer who saw them play in a Budapest club.

After a year in Australia, Orszaczky returned to Hungary faced with compulsory military duty, and returned permanently to Australia in 1974 as bassist for Perth band Bakery. He later became music director for platinum selling R&B diva Marcia Hines.

In recent years, Orszaczky formed jazz-funk bands such as Jump Back Jack, Hungarian Rap-Sadists and the Godmothers. His last album, "Family Lore" by Jackie Orszaczky and the Grand Masters, was released through Vitamin Records in August 2007.

He also arranged recordings for Savage Garden, Tim Finn, Hoodoo Gurus and the Whitlams, and produced a number of recordings for upcoming jazz and funk acts.

"He was a man who combined his search for spirituality with his search for great music," commented Sydney jazz guitarist John Wardle.

A public wake is to held at the Harold Park Hotel in Sydney on Sunday (Feb. 10). Orszaczky is survived by his partner, soul singer Tina Harrod and two daughters.