Cleo Laine and John Dankworth - Double Top

Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth both turned 80 recently, a milestone for the couple who for many years have personified British jazz internationally, receiving acclaim and honours frequently along the way. Still active on the scene they look back on a remarkable career with Stuart Nicholson, to the days when bebop was a new music heard at first hand by Dankworth in New York and to the days when he shared a stage with Charlie Parker and toured with Duke Ellington. Cleo Laine and John Dankworth - Double Top
Reflecting on his long and distinguished career at The Stables, his home in Wavendon which he shares with his wife and singer Dame Cleo Laine, Sir John Dankworth is a natural raconteur who delights in serving well polished anecdotes from his remarkable musical past with a twinkle in his eye and a ready laugh. If anyone is after the secret of eternal youth, then they could do no better than drop in at the Stables to ask how it’s done. Both Dankworth and Laine may be celebrating their 80th birthday this year but you’d never guess it by looking at them. It’s as if, well, not quite eternal youth, but the gift of looking eternally fifty-something has been bestowed upon them.

Sitting in a large red armchair framed by an impressive stone mantelpiece in the lounge of his country retreat, Dankworth switches with ease from events in his still unfolding present to his past in another Britain and another lifetime. Often self-effacing and always modest, his natural authority makes it easy to see how he was once “the man” in British jazz. Back in the 50s as a young and gifted saxophonist and composer/arranger, he was the epitome of jazz-cool in a drab post-war London. With his trademark fedora he looked half Mafioso Don and half Jack-the-Lad.

After winning the Melody Maker “Musician of the Year” award in 1949, he emerged as a key mover and shaker in a London jazz scene picking up the pieces after the devastation of World War II. What he did and what he said was news, eagerly written up in the music press – want a quote on the value of the Anglo-American band exchange? Ask Dankworth and it makes front page news in Melody Maker.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #113 to read the full feature and receive a Free CD Subscribe Here...

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Featured Artists

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next
Jazz in Mexico today: a beginner's guide

Jazz in Mexico today: a beginner's guide

Patrick McMahon offers a guide to the thriving jazz scene in Mexico, including a list of artists to listen out for. You can enjoy most of these tracks in our...

Read More.....
Jazz drumming and the vision of Jonathan Barber

Jazz drumming and the vision of Jonathan…

Kay Shackelford introduces a bold new force on the jazz drumming scene: Jonathan Barber When listening to Jonathan Barber, there’s an earful of innovative and thoughtful rhythmic execution that causes pause...

Read More.....
All aboard the Blue Note at Sea jazz cruise

All aboard the Blue Note at Sea jazz cru…

Jon Newey experiences the unique musical possibilities of the Blue Note at Sea jazz cruise It’s early Monday morning on 29 January and the day has dawned surprisingly clear. Overnight the grey...

Read More.....
Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “Hey, instead of rhythm and blues, how about ghetto and Bach?”

Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “H…

In 2010, Hugh Masekela, the great South African musician and an inspiration in the cultural and political struggle against apartheid, spoke candidly to Jazzwise's Marcus O'Dair about his continued to fight...

Read More.....
Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa left a huge legacy of pioneering music and outspoken opinions that has proved obliquely influential in shaping the style and attitudes of generations of rock and jazz musicians...

Read More.....
Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's recording of Duke Ellington's ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’

Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's rec…

Brian Priestley takes the opportunity to put Ella Fitzgerald’s soulful 1957 version of Ellington’s ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’ under the microscope It’s well known that Ella Fitzgerald had...

Read More.....
Life-changing jazz albums: 'My Song' by Keith Jarrett

Life-changing jazz albums: 'My Song' by …

Pianist Gwilym Simcock talks about the album that changed his life, 'My Song' by Keith Jarrett. Interview by Brian Glasser The biggest turning point I’ve ever had, it was a life-changing...

Read More.....
The shape of jazz to come: who to look out for in 2018

The shape of jazz to come: who to look o…

Photo: Rohey It’s time to divine the divine, as we ask our crack unit of writers and assorted other taste-formers to gaze into their crystal balls and reveal the intel on...

Read More.....
Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2017

Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2017

In another turbulent year of head-spinning change, much of it unwelcome, jazz has once again proved itself as resilient and inspirational as ever. Jazzwise’s prestigious Albums of the Year New...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@ryleywalker Girls In Their Summer Clothes sounds like a strong Magnetic Fields
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Szun Waves launch New Hymn To Freedom with live dates https://t.co/kst5oDXr7s https://t.co/ESvMWrn0ME
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA