British jazz star Dankworth dead at 82: BBC
British jazz star John Dankworth, who worked with legends like Ella Fitzgerald and was married to singer Cleo Laine, has died at the age of 82, the BBC reported Sunday, quoting his agent.world Updated: Feb 07, 2010 07:49 IST
British jazz star John Dankworth, who worked with legends like Ella Fitzgerald and was married to singer Cleo Laine, has died at the age of 82, the BBC reported Sunday, quoting his agent.
Dankworth, a saxophonist and clarinettist, and Laine were one of the best known couples in jazz and had been married for over 50 years.
Earlier in his career, Dankworth had worked as musical director for the likes of Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Oscar Peterson.
Laine announced Dankworth's death at a concert marking the 40th anniversary of a theatre they had set up together, the BBC reported.
"The all-star concert, featuring numerous British stars of stage, screen and recordings, became a tribute to John," the BBC quoted his agent as saying.
Dankworth died Saturday at a London hospital after being unwell for several months, the broadcaster added, without providing further details.
He was born in 1927 and went to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London aged 17, inspired by Benny Goodman.
He formed his band the Dankworth Seven in 1950 and it rapidly became one of Britain's top jazz groups.
Three years later, he formed his big band, which he led for around 20 years. Several of its arrangements featured Laine, who he married in 1958, on vocals.
Dankworth started playing in the United States in 1959 -- his first trip included a stint sharing the bill with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
During the 1960s, he penned scores for films including "Accident" and "The Servant", both directed by Joseph Losey, and Karel Reisz's "Saturday Night And Sunday Morning".
He and Laine set up a charity, the Wavendon Allmusic Plan, in 1969 which led to the establishment of the Stables Theatre, a concert venue in the grounds of their home in Buckinghamshire, northwest of London.
Dankworth was knighted in 2006. Laine survives him, as do a son and a daughter, both jazz musicians.