Belfast Telegraph

Jacqui Dankworth: singer of the finest pedigree to play Belfast's Black Box

By Grania McFadden

If ever a day was made for jazz, that day is Sunday. And tomorrow the sweet and sultry sounds of jazz will be wafting around the Black Box as singer Jacqui Dankworth provides the perfect wind-down to the weekend.

One of the most highly regarded vocalists in the country, Dankworth – daughter of singer Cleo Laine and musician and composer Sir John Dankworth – may be inextricably linked with jazz. She says she was introduced to it when she was in the womb.

She used to listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davies and John Coltrane when her contemporaries were listening to Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. She cites Al Jarreau as her first musical crush.

But her range spreads far and wide, and she sings folk, soul and blues every bit as well.

Dankworth can also add 'accomplished actor' to her list of talents. She's performed leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National Theatre. She's headed the cast in Sondheim's Into The Woods, and has even taken on the role of Cinderella.

In fact, once upon a time she had set her sights on an acting career – but by the mid-90s it was clear she would be a singer.

She still finds time to flex her acting muscles, though – she appeared in The Borgias and also features in Les Miserables.

Dankworth has collaborated and worked with many diverse musicians including The Brodsky Quartet, Courtney Pine, Paloma Faith, Georgie Fame, David Gordon, Charlie Wood, Anthony Kerr, The BBC Big Band, RTE, LSO and RPO Orchestras and Chick Corea.

Dankworth will be giving her audience a taste of her album, Live To Love, released last year.

It's been described as is a return to her broader, more pop and gospel-inclusive agenda. She wrote many of the songs with her husband Charlie Wood (who wrote the beautiful title track), which sit alongside four cover songs. Listening to it is like being immersed in hot chocolate. Heavenly.

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