EXPIRED: 02/06/10 – John Dankworth, 82, was a British jazz legend who worked with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson. In 2006 he was knighted by the Queen. So I guess it’s Rest In Peace, Sir John Dankworth.
Dankworth, inspired by the music of inspired by Benny Goodman, applied to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London when he was just 17. He formed his band the Dankworth Seven in 1950 and it rapidly became one of Britain’s top jazz groups with him as saxophonist and clarinetist. Three years later, he formed his big band, which he led for two decades. Many arrangements featured vocals by Cleo Laine, who he married in 1958.
He and Laine were one of the best known couples in jazz. She announced his death at a concert marking the 40th anniversary of the Stables Theatre, a concert venue in the grounds of their home in Buckinghamshire, northwest of London. Instead, the all-star concert became a tribute to Dankworth.