Johnny Dankworth: The jazz bringer

When directors wanted their films to ooze cool, they called on Johnny Dankworth. Richard Williams on the man who made British cinema swing

There was a time when jazz and film formed a natural partnership. When a ­director wanted a hectic ­accompaniment to criminal activity, or a splintered melody to echo an on-screen psychodrama, or a cool, lush sound to accompany a cocktail-lounge seduction, jazz was the sound to use. And Johnny Dankworth was one of the men who could provide it, on time and to length.

Dankworth, who died at the ­weekend, was a fine musician, although not ­perhaps a great one. His playing and his composing did not alter the course of jazz, and he has no disciples. His real achievement, and his knighthood, came as a result of his ambition to make jazz acceptable on the concert platform and in the conservatory. He will also be remembered
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