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I Hear Music - Cleo Laine and John Dankworth

Artist: Cleo Laine

Date of Release: 01/10/2007

Catalogue no: SALVOBX403

Label: Salvo - Union Square Music

Price: £18.99

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Appearances by

Alec Dankworth, Jacqui Dankworth, John Dankworth

Four CD Box Set

Veritable national treasures, Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth have made noteworthy recordings in each of the last seven decades, and they remain as artistically active as they have ever been. This collection brings together tracks from throughout their remarkable careers, combining their finest solo sides along with collaborations with each other, their family and a stellar cast of friends (Ray Charles, John Williams, Dudley Moore and Julian Llyod Webber, to name but a few). From Cleo's glorious interpretations of the standards to John's stunning small group, big band and soundtrack performances, here is the definitive celebration of their incredible contribution to music in Britain and beyond.

 

Reviews

 

01/11/2007 Stuart Nicholson - Jazzwise

"...a valuable retrospective..."

4 Stars

Celebrating their 80th birthdays this year, both Dankworth and Laine's careers shows no evidence of slowing down. From the Kennedy Center to the Albert Hall they maintain their dizzying schedule, as well as continuing their commitment to The Stables in Wavendon, their recently refurbished performance centre near Milton Keynes.
This four CD set, with helpful notes by Jazzwise writer Alyn Shipton, is a valuable retrospective that stretches back to 1944 on 'Early Days'(disc 1) documenting Dankworth's first professional job (on clarinet) with traditional jazz artist Freddy Mirfield. Just five years later he had absorbed the nomenclature of bebop, and examples of him with Victor Feldman and with his Club XI Quartet attest to his fast developing skills as an instrumentalist. There is a good representation of the Dankworth Seven whose sound was based on the Birth of Cool band, but then so was Shorty Rogers and the Giants, and curiously the Dankwoth Seven often sounds more Rogers West Coast than Davis east Coast - no matter because there are excellent versions of 'The Slider', 'Leon Bismark' and 'I Hear Music' that have a clarity and transparency in their writing that from this distance still sounds refreshing. In 1953 came the Dankworth big band and disc 2, Big band and the Movies, which considering the paucity of available material from this period might have been extended over two CDs rather than one, opens with the hit singles 'Experiments With Mice', which still retains its humour across the decades through Dankworth's witty and inventive writing, and three tracks from the incredibly rare London to Newport album on Top Rank which documents Dankworth's appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1959. His second hit, 'African Waltz' has no real improvising , but is powerful big band jazz for all that. Key tracks from What the Dickens!, Zodiac Variations, The Million Dollar Collection and Lifeline plus movie themes such as Modesty Blaise and Theme from the Servant round out the second volume. Focus on Cleo (disc 3) curiously omits 'If Music Be the Food of Love' from Shakespeare and All That Jazz, but does include the striking 'Shall I Compare to a Summer's Day'. There are collaborations with John Williams, Ray Charles, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan and Dudley Moore, and a stunning version of 'Riding High' that contributed to Dankworth's success with American audiences. A Family Affair (disc 4) includes pieces from 1966 to 2005 with Alec, Jacqui and Emily Dankworth, and the Generation Big Band, that taken together with the previous volumes attest to a remarkable career by a remarkable couple who have left an indelible mark on the ledger of British jazz.

 

01/11/2007 Charles Waring - Record Collector

4 stars

...Defying the ravages of time are the king and queen of British jazz, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, who are celebrating their respective 80th birthdays. To mark both auspicious occasions is a newly released 4CD box set. It contains rare early material by the couple (going back to the 40s and 50s)as well as later, more recent, collaborations with their children Jacqui and Alec Dankworth. Jazz critic Alyn Shipton provides perceptive liner notes.



 

27/10/2007 A. Jones - Music Week

"...an excellent set..."

To mark the 80th birthdays of Dame Cleo and Sir John, Union Square's Salvo imprint pushes the boat out with this four-CD and 64-page book set. The couple - who have been married since 1958 - have worked extensively together and apart, with Dankworth's brilliant early originals like Experiments With Mice and African Waltz matched by Laine's Peel Me A Grape and If. Collaborations with the likes of Ray Charles, Dudley Moore and John Williams complete and excellent set.


 

20/10/2007 Roger Trapp - The Independent

Album of the week

The band leader John Dankworth and his wife of nearly 50 years, the singer Cleo Laine, have been making music for even longer than they have been married. A smattering of their combined output is featured on this fascinating four-CD set, which covers the couple's lives and music over more then half a century. An extremely compelling historical document.




 

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