John Dankworth R.I.P. died 6 th February 2010.
This is very sad news, very sad news. It is not just another great musician dying but what he has done for the british music scene. I first came into contact with John and Cleo when Cleo and her sister ran a small cafe in Hounslow, 4 or 5 miles from London airport. I played in the back garden with Cleo's son Stewart, from a previous relationship. I remember the talk that she was going to audition for John and then the photographs going up on the wall as they became more well known. It was due to this early contact that I followed Johnny Dankworths band and the musicians that past through it, including Ronnie Scott. He was a fan and played with Charlie Parker. In the 1950s he had a band The Dankworth Seven with John on Alto, Jimmy Deuchar played trumpet, Trombone was played by Eddie Harvey, the great Don Rendell on tenor, Bill Le Sage on piano, bass was Eric Dawson and on the drums Tony Kinsey. I think some of the best recordings of Johns bands are those by the Alec & John Generation Big Band. Alec, Johns son, plays the double bass and is much in demand. The story is that on a tour of the USA when Alec was a young boy, he met the comedian Bill Cosby, who gave Alec a double bass and tutor books, he had been trying to learn with. So that is how Alec became a bass player. The work that John and Cleo have done for the young musicians of the UK is beyond calculation and too great to put a value on. They have literally made there home a refuge for young musicians. I think if I was speaking to someone who knew nothing of John as a musician I would direct them to the clarinet solo in Born On A Friday with Cleo Laine, from the live recording at Carnegie Hall 1977. Our best wishes go to John's family and a big thank you to John himself. John Dankworth R.I.P.