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John Dankworth RIP


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Sad to hear of the passing of John Dankworth, one of the most significant figures in British Music of post war years. Arguably, the ONLY significant British musician in jazz and a prolific composer who wrote, among many other things, the theme music to The Avengers and Tomorrow's World.

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If you think Dankworth only played jazz, you are mistaken. He was active over a wide field of music. He recorded Stravinski's Ebony Concerto and a number of other pieces written by contemporary "classical" composers and had a big hit with "Experiments with Mice" - a comic version of Three Blind Mice which made the charts. Then, of course, he wrote the theme music to many TV programmes and films.

He was the power behind the throne - Cleo Laine, gifted though she was with a superb voice - owed her success entirely to John.

Incidentally she has never accepted that she is a jazz singer.


As to Humph and Chris Barber - good, journeymen jazzmen but not really significant in the history of jazz. In fact, apart from George Shearing (who just about scrapes in) I can't think of any other British jazz musician of lasting significance. Time, of course, may prove me wrong. But I would rate Ronnie Scott higher than Humph or Barber.

There is an argument for saying that the only significant figure in jazz who was not American was Django Rheinhardt.

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