After discovering jazz through accidentally encountering the music of guitarist Wes Montgomery in his teens, John Fordham began writing about jazz for Time Out magazine in 1970, and subsequently wrote for Melody Maker, Sounds, The Wire, and Q magazine, as well as contributing extensively to radio and TV coverage of the music.
From 1978 to 1981 he was editor of Time Out, and from 1981 to 1986 he co-edited the cooperatively-run listings magazine City Limits, and he edited the news magazine Jazz UK from 1999 to 2008.
His books on jazz include 'Jazzman: The Story of Ronnie Scott and his Club'; 'Jazz On CD', and the Dorling Kindersley illustrated introduction Jazz. 'Shooting From The Hip', a compendium of Fordham’s jazz writing, was published in 1996, and in 2015 Quadrille published his pocket guide to the history of the music as 'The Knowledge: Jazz'.
Fordham began writing for The Guardian in 1978, and still does. In 2018 he began contributing regularly to Jazzwise magazine, and to the website London Jazz News.