1. Modesty Blaise
4. Return from the Ashes
5. All Gone
6. East St. Louis Boogaloo
7. Round Table Round
8. Herbie Walks Again
9. Long John
10. Look Stranger
11. Whirly Birly
John Dankworth - Alto sax
Don Rendell, Alan Wakeman - Tenor saxes, flutes
Roger Cawkwell - Baritone sax, flute
Kenny Baker, Martin Drover - Trumpets
Alan Downey, Henry Shaw - Trumpets, flugelhorns
David Horler, Malcolm Griffiths, Ken Gibson - Trombones
Geoff Perkins - Bass trombone
Tony Hymas - Piano, electric piano
Paul Hart - Bass guitar, violin
Ronnie Verrall - Drums
John Girvan, Alan Sparkes - Guitars
The death of Sir John Dankworth in February robbed Britain of one of its most prolific, versatile and enlightened musicians. He played the alto sax and clarinet; wrote numerous compositions and arrangements; and was instrumental in setting up the Wavendon AllMusic Plan, which promoted all kinds of good music. He also fostered the careers of many British jazzers, including Tommy Whittle, Eddie Blair, John Horler, Mark Nightingale and, of course, Cleo Laine, who became his wife in 1958. His first band - the Johnny Dankworth Seven (we all called him Johnny until he chopped a third off his first name) - included musicians like Jimmy Deuchar, Bill Le Sage and Tony Kinsey who went on to become mainstays of British jazz.
One aspect of Dankworth's output which is sometimes forgotten was his writing for films and television. Many of us can still hum his theme for TV's Tomorrow's World, and he wrote the music for more than 20 films, including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Darling and Accident. This reissue of a 1974 LP containing re-arrangments of several of his 1960s' soundtracks reminds us of some of the films for which he supplied the music. His film music was in particular demand in the 1960s, when producers wanted jazzy soundtracks. Dankworth filled the bill mainly with music that was either in contemporary jazz-funk mode or sllnky ballads.
These two types are well illustrated by the first two tracks: the groovy theme for Modesty Blaise and the sensuous melody for Darling.
Morgan is more in conventional big-band style, with a jaunty theme capturing the eccentric personality of the central character (played in the film by David Warner). The theme from Return from the Ashes (a virtually forgotten 1965 movie) is sensuous and mysterious, with a hypnotic melody and effective alto sax from Dankworth, as well as an uncredited string section. All Gone is from The Servant, Joseph Losey's hypnotic film starring Dirk Bogarde and Sarah Miles, with more romantic, soaring sax from John Dankworth.
The next four items are not film soundtracks but Dankworth creations which exemplify his versatility as a composer. East St Louis Boogaloo is a slow-burning bluesy tune again featuring John. The title reminds us of Dankworth's friendship with Duke Ellington. Round Table Round is in a funky 7/4 tempo, with a shapely trumpet solo (from Kenny Baker?), while Herbie Walks Again trots along in cheerful 4/4 with some unusual echoing sounds from the alto sax.
Long John also contains some strange voicings and brings Paul Hart's violin to the forefront for the first time. The album closes with two themes from television programmes: Look Stranger and Whirly Birly - the former gently melodic, the latter whirlingly conveying the helicopter flights which comprised this documentary.