Dankworth legend reborn

Dave Gelly previews a John Dankworth tribute at Music In The Garden that pulls together half a century of talent associated with the late bandleader
“Jazz musicians improve with age – and they don’t give up!” The words of trombonist and arranger Bill Geldard (pictured), who will be part of the Legends, a unique, one-day-only band appearing on Saturday 6 July at a concert in the garden of The Rectory, Dame Cleo Laine’s home at Wavendon.
Dame Cleo’s late husband, Sir John Dankworth, one of the great figures of British jazz, launched his first band, the Johnny Dankworth Seven, in 1949. He was leading his last, the Dankworth Generation Band, along with his bassist son, Alec, until shortly before his death in 2010.
The eight Legends are drawn from that entire half-century of music making. They are: John Horler, piano; Dave Green, bass; Tony Kinsey, drums; Jimmy Hastings, alto saxophone; Duncan Lamont, tenor saxophone; Henry Lowther, trumpet; and Bill Geldard, trombone.
“This isn’t revivalism by any means. It’s not a rehash,” insists Bill Geldard, who was a member of the Dankworth orchestra through the 1950s and into the ‘60s. “We’ll be taking some original music from those five decades - by Eddie Harvey, Kenny Baker and John himself. But we’re writing some new music, too, specially for the occasion.
“Jazz musicians are individuals. They all sound like themselves, no matter what generation they come from. Who else sounds like Duncan Lamont, or Henry Lowther? It’ll be a great event, with a few stories along the way, but mostly music from those who had a share in a great jazz institution.”
Music In The Garden, The Old Rectory, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU. The Legends, Saturday 6 July, 2.30pm. Tickets £15. Full day ticket £23. Box office: 01908 280800

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