The showroom at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada, sparkled brilliantly, the weekend of October 17-19, 2003 with the luminary talent of the legendary British couple, Dame Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. The audience was on the edge of their seats all night with excitement and awe. The jazz composition and sounds that emanated from behind the footlights brought Friday night's audience to their feet as they hailed The Queen of Jazz, and her professional partner and husband with thunderous applause. The lady next to me smiled with pride, as if the legendary performers were her personal treasure. I watched you tapping your feet all night, I'm so glad you enjoyed the performance as much as I did! I've been a fan of theirs for years, and you?
I'm a new fan, and I feel so lucky to be here, wow, what an evening, I enthusiastically replied. The awe and wonder for the evening's incredible jazz experience overwhelmed me. I had never felt such a deep appreciation for being a member of the audience as I did that night. The sounds that emanated from the accomplished jazz duo were only outmatched by the Dankworth quartet of Peter Mcgrop, Gordon Getty, Larry Dunefal, and Sid McKane.
The opening number with John on the saxophone set the pace for the evening. There's nothing like a saxophone's soulful sound when it's mixed with the sassiness of a Mozart jazz moment. Their tribute to the great music of Duke Ellington highlighted by the ballad 'Rainbow Corner' was the same that Duke played at Piccadilly Circus to entertain the troops in 1944. Dame Cleo Laine's memory to Ella Fitzgerald, 'I Gotta Crush on You', was a vocal jazz phenomenon in range and rhythm. Being a first time audience member I wondered, How can she do that with her voice? She had the most finely tuned instrument on stage!