Farewell John Dankworth

Saxophonist and composer Sir John Dankworth has died, aged 82.

Initially inspired by Benny Goodman but quickly adopting the innovations of Charlie Parker, Dankworth played a leading role in the opening chapters of British modern jazz and remained a modernist his whole career. Helped perhaps by the broadening experience of commercial composition, he embraced the terms 'progressive' and 'eclectic' long before those words became fashionable and in 1969 launched a performance and education project emphatically titled the 'Allmusic' plan. In the 1960s and 70s he brought jazz sounds to British ears on a weekly basis in his theme tunes for TV programmes such as Tomorrow's World.

Dankworth's wife Cleo Laine announced his death at a concert at the Wavendon Stables on 6 February. He had been ill since October last and had cancelled several dates but played from a wheelchair at the London Jazz Festival in November. The March edition of Jazz Journal will carry a full obituary.


Cleo Laine and John Dankworth