A little slice of idyll with heaps of appeal

Cleo & family

Cleo & family

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LAST weekend, the curtain rose on the 12th annual Music in the Garden season, housed in the tranquil surroundings of the Old Rectory Gardens at Wavendon, writes Sammy Jones.

For last week’s headliner Dame Cleo Laine, the trip from home to stage involved the briefest of strolls– since Cleo and her late husband Sir John Dankworth devised the event, it’s been housed ‘in the back garden.’

“Certain other places were inspirational to John and I when we looked at doing something like this,” Cleo says, sat at home with the ‘second generation’ of Dankworth-Laine musical aces, daughter singerJacqui and bassist son Alec, “But it took a wee while before we finally got down to doing the whole thing...John and I were having one of our weekly arguments and I said ‘If we don’t do it now, it’ll never be done,

“It was a good argument to have,” she recalls with a smile, “I won!”

This week’s programme is another tasty reason to temporarily vacate your abode in favour of the Dankworth garden: “Karen Sharpe is a fantastic, straight-ahead, mainstream sax player with a classic rhythm section,” Alec explains, while GO! cover star Dennis Rollins is “an incredible trombone player with an organist and amazing drummer from Portugal who recently graduated from The Guildhall... they are quite a funky trio...”

Rollins’ performance will also be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

In the evening, James Pearson and Trio present A Portrait of Errol Garner.

Pearson, former pianist with Jacqui, is a stalwart of the Garden Season and part of the in-house band at Ronnie Scotts: “He is not only a phenomenal pianist, but also a great showman...” Cleo points out.

The weekend of sounds kicks off at 11.30am on Saturday, and though music is at the very core of this bash, it’s not the only reason to turn out and support it.

Says Jacqui: “The kids can run around the gardens all day, there’s a craft fair, licensed bar, food, art – some beautiful African sculptures, and Cleo’s clobber!”

The musicianship on parade will be sublime, the family and organiser Becky Stevenson have seen to that.

Fingers crossed the weather is, too!

Call to book on MK 280800 or visit www.stables.org

>Read GO! next week for more Garden Season details.