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
Jude Law in Black Sea

film

In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops

film

Arts and Entertainment
Full circle: Wu-Tang’s Method Man Getty

Music review

Arts and Entertainment
When he was king: Muhammad Ali training in 'I Am Ali'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
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.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game