Monday, February 8, 2010
I don't know if the passing of Johnny Dankworth registers very much with most of the Spill audience but it registers with me. I've enjoyed his music for almost 60 years and it was always fresh and interesting and Sir John Dankworth just doesn't sit right, he was and always will be: Johnny Dankworth.
In about 1952 I went to a dance in Chesterfield, there I met the most beautiful, smart and intelligent woman I'd ever met, it was truly love at first sight, the reason I went to that dance was because the Johnny Dankworth Seven was the band performing so it was a memorable occasion on two counts. I had just become aware of the band, probably via Steve Race's BBC program, my roots were with Humph and the classic jazz groups but there was a 'modernist' trend taking root and Johhny Dankworth was in the vanguard. He expanded my musical horizons, he was a 'Bird' fan and he made me one also, at that time he played a Grafton Acrylac alto sax, just like Bird, it was a pure white acrylic plastic sax with gold keys. Very chic but not a great tone.
I'd always wanted to meet him and I thought that might become a possibility when he and Cleo bought a house in Napa some years ago, it was about 25 miles from where I live, they split their time between there and UK, but our meeting was not to be.
Back to Susan, for that was her name, we became inseparable and it was my first real relationship and it lasted several years, I couldn't really say how or why it finally ended though it was whilst I was away in the RAF.
Here's a couple of examples of what the Johnny Dankwoth Seven sounded like in 1952, the band comprised: himself (alto sax), Jimmy Deuchar (trumpet), Eddie Harvey (trombone), Don Rendell (tenor sax), Bill Le Sage (piano), Eric Dawson (bass) and Tony Kinsey (drums).
The tunes are Our Delight and Lover Man.