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Sir John Dankworth


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In honor of Sir John Dankworth

Sir John Phillip William Dankworth passed away on February 6, 2010.

Sir John was born in Woodford, Essex, England on September 20, 1927 into a musical family. Dankworth had piano and violin lessons from an early age, settled on clarinet at sixteen but switched to alto saxophone after hearing a recording of Johnny Hodges. John studied in Londonís Royal Academy of Music and after serving in the army began his professional career in Londonís Jazz scene. In 1949 he attended to Paris Jazz Festival and played with Charlie Parker there which led to a tour of Sweden with Sidney Bechet. Dankworth was voted musician of the year in 1949.

John formed a small group in the early 1950s and after having much success with them formed his big band in 1953. It was as a composer and arranger John would leave his mark and his big band experienced great success. They were invited to play Newport Jazz Festival in 1959, various clubs in New York City including a series sharing the stage with Duke Ellingtonís Orchestra. In the 1960s John scored music for television and film along with his performing career. In the 1960s John also served as musical director for Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole among others. Dankworth has served as Pops Musical Director for Orchestras all over the world and has received honorary doctorates from Universities around the world. John received the Freedom of the City of London in 1994 and earned knighthood in 2006 New Years Honours.

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