February 6, 2010

John Dankworth

U.K. jazz legend Sir John Dankworth, who scored the 1966 Modesty Blaise film, passed away at age 82. You can read the BBC online article and watch the news clip here.

Sir John scored over twenty films; you can read an interview with him from the Journal of British Film and Television here.

You can find a number of versions of John Dankworth's Modesty Blaise theme on YouTube, including the Jonathan and David film version, and also the great Virginia Vee rendition. On iTunes, there is a wonderful version performed by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (I'm not sure if they're playing to an arrangement of Gorillaz's creation, or if Gorillaz sampled this arrangement and then transposed it, but the two sound remakably alike) -- if you've never heard the NYJO one, it's well worth a listen.

The film version:

and the jazz orchestra version:

A discography of John Dankworth's music can be found on Discogs.


1 comment:

Modesty Blaise said...

Addition from another Modesty Blaise/John Dankworth fan:
Dankworth is also known for composing the original theme music for The Avengers ― not the tune known from the Emma Peel years, but the first theme used during the David Keel/Cathy Gale era. For those interested, here is a YouTube clip of the original 1961 opening credits of the Avengers, with Dankworth’s theme. Note: Patrick MacNee is listed as a co-star back in those days, although the episode this is taken from (one of only 2 complete episodes of the first season that have survived) doesn’t even feature John Steed!