THE ORIGINAL LP 6308122 (1972) STEREO
Eleven Plus (Vickers)
Academy One (Dankworth)
The Italian Girl (Lindup)
Grow Your Own (Jarrett)
Schmaltz Waltz (Gibson)
Triple Portrait (Gibbs)
You Are Too Beautiful (Rodgers; Hart)
A Family Joy (Gibbs)
THE ORIGINAL LP 6308169 (1973) STEREO
Fighting the Flab (Gibson)
Tomorrow’s World (Dankworth)
W R V R (Dankworth)
i. Orinoco; ii. Studio Five; iii. Kite Flight iv. Defrantisity; v. Brass Roots
The 1970s was when jazz and rock met head-on, thereby creating the jazz-rock genre, the most significant and certainly the most controversial development in jazz since the free-jazz movement of the previous decade. Miles Davis’s seminal ‘Bitches Brew’ album, recorded in 1969, is regarded as jazz-rock’s first major statement, but of equal importance was a different strand of rock-influenced jazz being developed in Britain at the same time. Among its leading exponents were such gifted young musicians as Mike Gibbs, Ian Carr, Mike Westbrook and, from the generation before theirs, bandleader, composer and alto saxophonist John Dankworth (1927-2010). The albums compiled here are two of Dankworth’s most significant forays into the jazz-rock genre, and show that he was responsive to the latest developments in jazz. 1972’s ‘Full Circle’ and 1973’s ‘Lifeline’ both feature an exciting blend of rock’s energy and electric instrumentation with jazz’s intricate harmonies and melodic contours. Dankworth leads a powerhouse band consisting of such fine players as Tony Hymas/Alan Branscombe/John Taylor (keyboards), Daryl Runswick (bass guitar) and Harold Fisher/John Spooner (drums), while in the brass and reeds sections are luminaries including Mike Gibbs, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Don Rendell and Dankworth himself.
Remastered from the original stereo analogue tapes.
"British jazz composer and saxophonist extraordinaire, the late Johnny Dankworth was a highly versatile musician who recorded some memorable sides for television, film and vinyl alike. This excellent series of re-issues from Vocalion enables us to rediscover some of the mid-1960s and early to mid-1970s period era of his work, and this particular edition focuses on two albums from 1971 and 1972 respectively. The former, 'Full Circle', is slightly stronger with the reflective piece 'Scmaltz waltz' and it's lovely use of vibes and piano (John Taylor no less) a highlight. By contrast there is a strong percussive cu-bop feel to 'Earthman' (the first of the Dankworth original compositions) with big band unison on the main theme and a lovely flute solo. The second of the two originals on the album, 'Academy One', is an unabashed attempt at a contemporary sound that conjurs up the backbeat to Serge Gainsbourg's 'Melody Nelson' from the same period. Finally an uplifting fusion-jazz number is 'A family joy' with Bruce Graham soloing on piano. The second album, 'Lifeline', features one of Dankworth's most memorable and easily recognisable tunes, the theme from 'Tomorrow's world' which for the uninitiated was the long-standing science programme for the BBC. This includes a gorgeous extended solo on flute from Stan Sulzmann. Far more elaborate and intricate is a five movement suite and, of these pieces, the moody brass-led 'Orinoco' impresses as does the disitnctly 1970s soundtrack ambiance of 'Brass roots' with its use of wah-wah guitar and electric bass. Here Don Rendell features on soprano saxophone alongside Cleo Laine's wordless vocals. All in all a fine example of how British jazz had evolved from bop imitation into something quite distinct and refreshing."
4/5, Tim Stenhouse, Manchester Evening News, August 2011
"Dankworth’s foray into jazz rock, popularised at the time by many exponents here and across the pond, since the seed was first sown by the likes of Blood Sweat and Tears, and of course, Miles Davis in '69, with Bitches Brew. Leading exponents here were Colloseum, Mike Gibbs, Ian Carr, Mike Westbrook, and from the preceeding generation; Mr John Dankworth.
The albums compiled here are two of his most significant journeys into the jazz-rock style, reflecting just how responsive he was to the latest developments in jazz, unlike some of the old school who turned their nose up at change and stuck to the same old, same old.
'Full Circle' and 'Lifeline' feature an exciting blend of rock’s energy and electric instrumentation, with jazz intricacy, jazz harmonies and melodic contours. Dankworth leads a powerhouse band of fine players, including Tony Hymas, Alan Branscombe, John Taylor on keys. Daryl Runswick on bass. Harold Fisher and John Spooner on drums. In the brass and reed sections, sat such luminaries as Kenny Wheeler, a colossus of a player. He was in great company, with the likes of Mike Gibbs, Stan Sulzman, Don Rendell and Mr Dankworth himself.
A fitting tribute to the late and great JD, this re-issue should remind us of just how bloody brilliant the man was, and just how much he contributed to the world of music. Luckily for us, his music lives on - and he left us with a heck of a lot of it too."
Simon Redley, www.bluesandsoul.com
"Dankworth’s carefully-wrought arrangements, with their rich sonorities, stylistic élan and harmonic sophistication are also in evidence on two of his ’70s big band LPs, Full Circle and Lifeline. The latter contains a souped-up version of his theme to the BBC science programme, Tomorrow’s World.
2 CD SET - 2CDSML 8484
Charles Waring, Record Collector, September 2011 (four stars out of five)