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Johnny Hawksworth

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Biography

Johnny Hawksworth has had enough of a music career for any two men -- as a bassist and sometime composer for Ted Heath's band during the 1950s and early 1960s, as an arranger/composer for British television, and as a film composer during the 1960s. He started out on the piano as a boy, but became bored with the lessons that he was forced to take. He subsequently switched to upright bass, on which -- by his own account in an interview on the Vinyl Vulture website -- he discovered that he could treat the fret board like a piano keyboard. He not only got very good, but he became a very fast player, and became very visible in the world of postwar British jazz, especially once he joined Ted Heath's Music, which became one of the top big-band-style outfits in England of the 1950s, and not only recorded extensively but toured all over the world. In the course of his recordings and travels, Hawksworth also composed pieces that became a central part of Heath's repertory, and was admired by legions of listeners, enough so that at one point he was voted the best in the world on his instrument in a listener's poll in England. He subsequently turned to writing music for both television shows and commercials, working for various producers and publishers, and since the 1960s has made most of his living as a composer/producer/arranger in those fields. He has also composed American-style blues-based material under the name Bunny J. Browne and music in a classical idiom under the name John Steinway. Since 1984, he has resided in Sydney, Australia. ~ Bruce Eder

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