Two 60s gems from Brit leader John Dankworth
– both pretty unique! What The Dickens is a record that's way better than you might guess – and a key document of the creative orchestrations of the great John Dankworth
! The set features tunes inspired by the writings of Charles Dickens – but the writing and interpretation is 60s modern all the way through – thanks to a crack lineup that includes Tubby Hayes and Dick Morriseey on tenors, Ronnie Ross on baritone, Tony Coe on clarinet, Kenny Wheeler and Jimmy Deuchar on trumpets, and Dankworth
himself on some mighty nice alto! The session swings strongly – and surprisingly nice solos dart out amidst the otherwise goofy concept of the record – thanks to Dankworth
's hand for a good arrangement and a nice sense of swing! Titles include "Weller Never Did", "The Prologue", "Ghosts", "The Artful Dodger", and "Dodson & Fogg". "Off Duty" has Dankworth
's classic jazz charts getting a new sort of zing – thanks to electric bass from Herbie Flowers and Brian Odgers, which really helps give most of the tracks a great little groove! The record's got a soulful undercurrent we're not used to hearing from Dankworth
– and the production is nice and tight, with a sound library sense of compression that really works wonders with the playful instrumentation. Titles include "African Waltz", "To Emma", "Off Duty", "Little Brown Jig", "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", and "Song Of India".