Sunday, February 07, 2010

John Dankworth

A few random jottings about things that impressed me about John Dankworth, in random order:

His commitment to furthering jazz, not just through education but through advocacy, e.g. Jazz Development Trust.
His awareness of all generations of musicians, to the extent that he replaced Allan Ganley with the young tyro Jim Hart
His encouragement of musicians, such as getting the Wavendon Allmusic scheme started. Being a major figure in bringing bebop to Britain through Club 11.
The enthusiasm to play. When he and Cleo did a gig at the Vortex, he played with his quintet for an hhour before she joined in for a further 90 minutes. And this was just 4 years ago.
A selflessness to Cleo. In the Vortex autograph book, he filled it in and signed it. However leaving the space above his own signature for Cleo!!
Telling me that he had to bring his saxophone into the Royal Academy of Music in a violin case if he had a gig that night, because of the antagonism of the RAM at that time to jazz. I gather that later he offered only to teach saxophone if they set up a big band. A good quid pro quo.
His generosity in giving away the Stables as a theatre and allowing people to wander around his garden every year for a festival.

No doubt more will come to me. But that's a nice little selection....

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