Show Notes

Simon & Nick discuss the score to Mr Benn by Don Warren an alias for Duncan Lamont
who for several decades worked as a freelance musician (on flute and clarinet as well as saxophone), based around Archer Street in Soho, playing in the surrounding jazz clubs. He often performed with British bands accompanying American vocalists, including Fred Astaire, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Marlene Dietrich, Peggy Lee and (for 19 seasons) with Frank Sinatra. He also played with touring bandleaders such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Henry Mancini. Lamont led his own band for 11 years. He worked on recording and performing projects with Kenny Wheeler for many decades.

For those who missed the original Mr Benn books and TV show (the former, published first In 1967, the latter aired between 1971 and 1972 before making several returns via reruns on the BBC), the plot is straightforward. Black suit and bowler hat-clad London professional Mr Benn leaves his house each episode, walks to a local fancy-dress shop, and chooses an outfit. An adventure then ensues, set in a world that reflects his outfit. Harking back to a glorious time in children's television - one that has latterly been remembered for its psychedelic edges and surrealist tendencies - Duncan Lamont's score was a perfect accompaniment to those mini odysseys. It's woozy, blissful and dreamy at times, then jaunty and upbeat the next moment, taking the form of brief but beautiful accidentals to set those scenes.

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