Monday, 8 March 2010
The Sir John Dankworth Story
Another superb 'Jazz Matters' yesterday morning at The Stables. Peter Vacher gave a presentation on the life and work of Sir John Dankworth. He began by playing "Three Blind Mice", the chart-topping piece which involves variations on the famous childrens' song. I particularly liked the way that Peter Vacher illustrated the way that Sir John's music developed and the sheer range of his abilities.
The transtlantic influence was discussed. Sir John was a clarinetist before (and after) taking up the Saxophone. Benny Goodman was a key influence. Mr Vacher described how Laurie Morgan brought back 78s of 'be-bop jazz' from New York - and shared them with budding British jazz musicians such as Johnny Dankworth and Ronnie Scott. British be-bop then developed. In the late 1940s Johnny Dankworth was one of the jazz musicians who played on the transatlantic liners. They would perform on the crossings (all styles of music, not just jazz) - and then head for the jazz clubs in New York where the leaders of the be-bop movement, such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, were performing. Mr Vacher illustrated with recordings of Sir John how he both learned from these masters and developed his own style.
The presentation finished with the theme from "Tomorrow's World" - composed and performed by Sir John Dankworth.