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John Dankworth

The Zodiac Variations

Theme: Way with the Stars (Dankworth)
Aquarius (Dankworth)
Pisces (Dankworth)
Aries (Dankworth)
Taurus (Dankworth)
Gemini (Dankworth)
Cancer (Dankworth)
Leo (Dankworth)
Virgo (Dankworth)
Libra (Dankworth)
Scorpio (Dankworth)
Sagittarius (Dankworth)
Capricorn and Coda (Dankworth)

The $1,000,000 Collection

Winter Scene (Dankworth)
Sailor (Dankworth)
Two-Piece Flower (Dankworth)
Little Girl in Blue (Dankworth)
Composition with Colour (Dankworth)
Face in a Crowd (Dankworth)
La Clownesse (Dankworth)
Garden of Delights (Dankworth)
Madonna (Dankworth)
Hogshead of Hogarth (Dankworth)

Legendary British jazz musician, bandleader, arranger and composer John Dankworth (1927-2010) took the twelve astrological signs of the Zodiac as inspiration for his glorious big band suite The Zodiac Variations', released on the Fontana label in 1965. Recorded in London and New York, Dankworth's band comprised a who's-who of jazz including such famed soloists as Kenny Wheeler and Clark Terry (trumpets/flugelhorns), Zoot Sims and Ronnie Scott (tenor saxes), Bob Brookmeyer (trombone) and Ronnie Ross (baritone sax). From two years later comes Dankworth's The $1,000,000 Collection' album (1967), which forms another important entry in the Dankworth canon. On this occasion the inspiration for Dankworth's original compositions was derived from the world of painting and art, and the cream of Britain's jazzmen were on-hand to perform Dankworth's scores. Among the personnel are Mike Gibbs and Chris Pyne (trombones), Tony Coe, Ray Swinfield and Tony Roberts (reeds), Laurie Holloway (piano) and Henry Lowther (trumpet).
Remastered from the original stereo analogue tapes.

"Assembled within are two wonderful examples of Johnny Dankworth at his compositional best on the 1964 collectors delight 'Zodiac Variations' which is paired with '$1m Collection' from 1967. The former is the jewel in the crown and, as the title suggests, features pieces that are evenly divided up between the stars signs of Zodiac. Underpinning the album as a whole is a deeply impressionistic feel that echoes Gil Evans and his big band orchestrations. If the numbers are relatively concise, then they are nonethless beautifully constructed such as the cool school vibe of 'Aquarius' with it's MJQ sounding texture on vibes. Contrast this with the uptempo hues of 'Aries' and the more sedate tones of 'Libra' with baritone saxophonist Ronnie Ross showcasing his talents. An all-star line up includes a fabulous mix of US and UK musicians including Clark Terry and Kenny Wheeler on trumpets, Zoot Sims, Lucky Thompson and Phil Woods on assorted saxophones and Bob Brookmeyer on trombone. Shoring up the rhythm section is one Chuck Israel who performed as part of the Bill Evans trio. If the first album casts new light on the Zodiac signs, then the second, recorded just three years later and with a British line up, aimed to convey the expression of artistic endeavour more generally. Thus the piece 'Winter scene' was inspired by Dutch landscape painter Hendrik Avercamp while the reflective 'Little girl in blue' is a lyrical number featuring the excellent Ray Swinfield on flute. Pianist Laurie Holloway, later to be a staple of BBC big band orchestras, notably on the Parkinson show, features throughout."
5/5, Tim Stenhouse, Manchester Evening News, August 2011

"This man needs no introduction. as the Godfather of British jazz and big band, with a major International reputation. Sadly he passed away in February last year, playing up to his death, from his wheelchair on stage. John's musical legacy lives on. A very important figure as a composer, arranger, band leader and superb musician. Head of the Dankworth musical dynasty son Alec a superb bassist and composer, daughter Jacqui, actress and great singer (currently working on an album she started with her late father.) His other half Dame Cleo Laine, of course. Dankworth Knighted by the Queen in 2006. Unique as a couple, as both had titles in their own right. The man had a wicked sense of humour, was a lovable guy and with his wife, worked tirelessly to establish their wonderful venue, The Stables at Wavendon near Milton Keynes, in the grounds of their home. I can recall the famous couple turning up part way through a show there, and sitting down next to me some years ago, when my friend, actress Judy Carne was doing her one woman show. Distracted, I just wanted to shake John's hand and tell him how much I admired his music. Not wise, when in the front row in a hushed theatre a few feet from your pal whose show it is! Dankworth took the 12 astrological signs of the zodiac as inspiration for his big band suite 'The Zodiac Variations.' Originally released on Fontana in 1965, recorded in London and New York. Featuring a who's who of jazz, including famed soloists Kenny Wheeler and Clark Terry on trumpets and flugel horns. Zoot Sims and Ronnie Scott (now there was a funny guy) on tenor sax. The great Bob Brookmeyer on trombone and Ronnie Ross on baritone sax. From two years later comes 'The $1,000,000 Collection.' This time John derived his inspiration from art and paintings.The cream of British jazz were on hand to ably assist in delivering a sparkling symphony of fine jazz. Mike Gibbs, Chris Pyne, Tony Coe, Ray Swinfield, Tony Roberts, the great band leader and arranger Laurie Holloway and trumpet king Henry Lowther, who appeared at Woodstock in 1969 with Keef Hartley.This double CD is a must if you have taste, class, style and perhaps want to save the vinyl originals for your kids!"
Simon Redley,

"More fabulous homegrown jazz comes in the shape of a couple of John Dankworth twofers. The first pairs 1964's orchestral LP, The Zodiac Variations (recorded in New York with US luminaries Clark Terry, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods and Bob Brookmeyer, with '67's The $1,000,000 Collection, an ambitious big band suite."
Charles Waring, Record Collector, September 2011 (four stars out of five)

2 CDSET - 2CDSML 8480

Product ID 2CDSML8480
Price: £19.99
USD: $24.86 approx EUR: €22.15
2,683 JPY
1 Product Reviews - Average rating 5 / 5 (Show All)

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MUST-HAVE DANKWORTH-Superbly Remastered

- 01/12/2018

For many Dankaholics like myself, his Big Band Concept Albums were the cream of John\'s distinguished output. ZODIAC VARIATIONS and MILLION DOLLAR COLLECTION (featured on this CD release in a double album) followed the perhaps better known WHAT THE DICKEN...

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