Jeff Clyne was a self-taught musician, although he spent some short periods studying with orchestral players. In 1955, he became a military bandsman in the 3rd Hussars for his National Service. During that period, he played in London with Tony Crombie's Rockets and with Stan Tracey. In 1958, he joined the Jazz Couriers, a group co-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. He continued to work with Hayes' various groups for about ten years. In the early 60's, Clyne also worked with such avant-garde groups as the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Amalgam, led by John Stevens and Trevor Watts. In 1965, he was a member of the Stan Tracey quartet, which recorded the classic album Under Milk Wood. In the late 1960's, he worked with Gordon Beck (playing on his influential Experiments With Pops album alongside John McLaughlin and Tony Oxley in December 1967) and Tony Kinsey.
In 1969, he took up bass guitar, joining Nucleus at its beginning and staying until 1971. The group won first prize at the Newport Jazz Festival the same year, and at the Village Gate in New York. He also gigged with Keith Tippett's acclaimed sextet alongside Elton Dean, Mark Charig and Nick Evans. In 1972 he was a founding member of Gary Boyle's Isotope, playing on the band's first album and gigging around England. He joined Gilgamesh in 1975 in time for the recording sessions of the band's eponymous album. In 1976, with singer Pepi Lemer and former Isotope acolyte Brian Miller on keyboards, he formed Turning Point, a fusion band for which he composed much of the music and which recorded two acclaimed albums, Creatures Of The Night and Silent Promise. The band broke up after an Arts Council sponsored UK tour in October 1980 for which an augmented line-up (including Neil Ardley and Allan Holdsworth) performed mostly new material that sadly remains undocumented on record.
He has accompanied singers Blossom Dearie, Marion Montgomery, Annie Ross and Norma Winstone, and worked with many US musicians, including Lucky Thompson, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Jim Hall, Lockjaw Davis, Taj Farlow, and with the Belgian, Toots Thielemans. He has been active in education of several years and is currently co-director of the Wavendon Summer Jazz Course, and also on the faculty of both the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music jazz courses. In 1987, he recorded the acclaimed Twice Upon A Time album with ex-Gilgamesh guitarist Phil Lee. In 1990, he toured the UK as part of Gordon Beck's trio, with John Marshall on drums. He still plays jazz gigs regularly with various groups, often with drummer Trevor Tomkins. In 2003, he resumed his partnership with John Marshall in John Etheridge's quartet.
Jeff Clyne died on November 16th 2009, of a heart attack.