Vocalion presents The Zodiac Variations / The $1,000,000 Collection by John Dankworth His Orchestra & Guests. John Dankworth: Most of the world knew John Dankworth best as Cleo Laine’s longtime husband and accompanist, but he was a steady player for many decades. He started his career in a novelty and traditional ensemble called the Garbage Men, led by Freddy Mirfield. Dankworth studied at the Royal Academy of Music from 1944 to1946. He began the Johnny Dankworth Seven in 1950, and from 1953 to 1964 led a large jazz band featuring Laine. Dankworth’s profile as a composer was bigger than as a player; he wrote operatic works, pieces for a jazz band with symphony orchestra, and film scores.