Big stars swing in to back ‘Mr Jazz’

This Is Wiltshire: David Knight, Swindon’s Mr Jazz, who is the recipient of tonight’s benefit concert David Knight, Swindon’s Mr Jazz, who is the recipient of tonight’s benefit concert

A BENEFIT concert tonight for Swindon’s ‘Mr Jazz’ will be one of the biggest the town has seen.

The roster includes sidemen to Frank Sinatra and Courtney Pine, and the acclaimed musician son of British stars Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine.

For many years Dave Knight has organised jazz performances in and around Swindon, and currently brings talent from all over the world to the Plough Inn, Baker Street in Wood Street, and the Prince of Wales in Shriven-ham.

Dave is currently ill in hospital and fellow concert organiser Evonne Birch Jackson has organised tonight’s benefit gig at Baker Street, set to run from 6.30pm until late.

Evonne said: “The concert is a wonderful opportunity for the community to give back to this incredible man.

“Dave has been working tirelessly for many, many years to keep a vibrant jazz scene in Wiltshire.

“Hundreds of musicians and listeners have benefited from his enthusiastic hard work and organisation, as well as the venues he has been involved with.

“Baker Street have generously allowed us to host one of the best Jazz concerts Swindon has ever seen, featuring some of the UK’s and Europe’s top jazz musicians.”

Bass player and composer Alec Dankworth is the latest musician to sign up for the benefit.

His fellow headliners are former Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra member Simon Spillett on sax, award-winning trumpeter Steve Waterman, 11-time UK top jazz pianist David Newton, fellow top pianist Craig Milverton – whose credits included working alongside George Melly – and trombonist Ian Bateman.

Ian is a member of Acker Bilk’s Paramount Jazz band and the Bateman Brothers Jazz Band, who recreate the sound of Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars.

They will be joined by bassist Clive Morton, who has worked with Sinatra and Jamie Cullum, guitarist Chris Cobbson from Courtney Pine’s band, Gypsy Fire bass player Paul Jeffries and drummers Charlie Stratford and Terry Howard.

Dave Knight, 78, who lives in Bishopstone, has been a jazz fan since childhood.

He has travelled the world to see his jazz heroes, and once partied with the Rolling Stones.

Interviewed by the Swindon Advertiser earlier this year, he said of jazz: “You feel it. It’s difficult to understand.

“It’s not something you can teach a person – it’s something you feel.

“You’ve got to feel it within you.”

Entry to the benefit concert will be free, with donations invited toward Dave’s care and recovery.

l Further details are available from Evonne at princessjackson@hotmail.co.uk and at swindonjazz.blogspot.com

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