Jazz legend Johnny Dankworth dies

Tributes were paid today to British jazz legend Sir John Dankworth after he died aged 82.

The saxophonist, whose career spanned more more than half a century, died yesterday in King Edward VII hospital, London. He had been ill for several months.

His death was announced last night by his jazz singer wife, Dame Cleo Laine, during a star-studded concert marking the 40th anniversary of the entertainment venue they set up together at their Buckinghamshire home.

Better known as Johnny Dankworth before he was knighted in 2006, Sir John started his own jazz orchestra in the 1950s and went on to work with the likes of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.

He was also a prolific composer, writing the theme tune for TV shows The Avengers and Tomorrow's World, and films including Modesty Blaise, The Servant and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

Jazz star Jamie Cullum paid tribute to the musician on his Twitter page, calling him a genius.

He added: "Sir John Dankworth - a great man and one of our finest musicians and composers has died. Rest in peace sir."

Jazzwise magazine hailed the performer as "one of the totemic figures of British jazz" and the country's "first major jazz musician".

His agent Jim Murtha also told the BBC: "For British jazz and jazz around the world, I believe John has become such an international figure, particularly since he became Sir John Dankworth a few years ago."

A concert marking the 40th anniversary of The Stables, which is in the grounds of Sir John's home in Wavendon, Bucks, went ahead last night as planned.

It featured performances from Dame Cleo, his jazz musician children Alec and Jacqui, as well as stars including Paul O'Grady, Prunella Scales, Maureen Lipman, Timothy West and Victoria Wood.

Stephen Clarke, chairman of the charity that now owns the venue, said: "It is a fitting tribute that on the day of Sir John's death that we celebrated on stage the 40th anniversary of The Stables with some of the many artists who have performed with Sir John at The Stables."

Sir John was born in Woodford, Essex, in 1927 and showed early proficiency on the clarinet.

After falling in love with the music of legendary US saxophonist Charlie Parker, he took up the same instrument.

He won a place at the Royal Academy of Music aged 17, and after a short spell in the Army, was voted British Musician of the Year in 1949.

Sir John met his wife in 1950 while auditioning singers for his band, the Dankworth Seven. They married in 1958.

That decade also saw him tour the states with his jazz orchestra, sharing the bill with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He also served as musical director to jazz greats like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.

During the next decade he turned his attention to the film world, going on to compose scores for films including Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, The Servant and Accident.

The musician worked with directors like Karel Reisz, Sir Peter Hall, John Schlesinger, Joseph Losey and Henry Hathaway.

In 1985 Sir John founded the London Symphony Orchestra's Summer Pops, continuing to work with it as artistic director until 1990.

In October last year he was taken ill at the end of a US tour with his wife.

The couple cancelled a number of UK concert dates for the following month, although the saxophonist did return to the concert stage at the London Jazz Festival, playing his saxophone from his wheelchair at the Royal Festival Hall.

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears