LABELS: Blue Note
PERFORMER: Stan Tracey (p); Peter King (as); Don Weller (ts); Art Themen (ts, ss); Malcolm Griffiths (tb); Guy Barker (tpt); Dave Green (b); Clark Tracey (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 0777 7 80696 2 1
Despite being a world-class pianist since the Fifties, Stan Tracey makes his major-label debut with this album, so it is appropriate that the bulk of it should be dedicated to four jazz figures who have meant so much to him over the years: Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Gil Evans, Duke Ellington.
Each piece is unmistakably flavoured by its particular dedicatee’s music, but – like Tracey’s querkily percussive, angular piano playing – wears its influences lightly and intelligently, remaining utterly distinctive and instantly recognisable as a Tracey composition.
His long-time octet associates amply justify their reputations as the UK doyens on their respective instruments, and it is deeply gratifying to hear them at last doing what they have been doing beautifully all these years for the world-wide audience they so richly deserve. Chris Parker