#6 My Top Ten British Big Bands…No 5…John Dankworth

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John Dankworth formed his big band in 1953, although this could be considered late in the era he racked up an amazing amount of work and was receiving plaudits up to 2003 by Jules Holland. The band got it’s big break in 1959 when it was invited to the Newport Jazz Festival, one New York writer wrote in part, “This English group has a flowing, unforced, rhythmic drive that has virtually disappeared from American bands”. The band have shared the stage with Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, this is Jazz royalty approving one of our great British big bands.

I’ve got Johnny Dankworth and his band at number 5 because I do remember them with the amazing Cleo Lane who became a regular in the band. Because I was so young at the time I didn’t really appreciate jazz singers very much, and it all pretty much went over my head. It’s like tasting whiskey for the first time, you have a sip and almost spit it out, but you try again and you start to get the taste for it, then before you know it you are becoming an expert on single malts. Listen to the track be patient and listen to how they tease the melody into to different places, once you get it you wont regret it. You tube search Cleo Lane  John Dankworth Feeling Good.

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