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Monday, May 24, 2010

British jazz musician John Dankworth dies aged 82 - Wikinews, the free news source

British jazz musician John Dankworth dies aged 82 - Wikinews, the free news source:

British jazz musician Sir John Dankworth, said to be "one of the totemic figures of British jazz" and "the first major jazz musician" by Jazzwise magazine, died at the age of 82 in the King Edward VII Hospital in London, England on Saturday after being hospitalised with an undisclosed illness for the last few months. His family and his agent made the confirmation of the obituary.

He was born in Essex on 1927 to a family of musicians. He started playing the clarinet after being musically influenced by Benny Goodman. During the 1950s, he became an active jazz artist with his group, the Dankworth Seven. While auditioning for singers for the group in 1950, he met Dame Cleo Laine, who later became his wife.

Dankworth, who had been working in the British jazz music industry for over 60 years, was the musical director to other famous jazz musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Charlie Parker. He was also the composer of the theme music for television programmes The Avengers and Tomorrow's World, as well as writing the music score for 1966 film Modesty Blaise. Johnny Dankworth, as he was often known by, was appointed CBE in 1974 and was knighted in 2006 - to become Sir John Dankworth - for his services to music. One of the last performances from John Dankworth was at the London Jazz Festival in November 2009, where he played the saxophone while sitting in a wheelchair. Dankworth also had two children - Jacqui, his daughter and Alec, his son. Both are now jazz musicians.

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