Stan Tracey Live at the QEH

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Stan Tracey,Thelonious Monk
LABELS: Blue Note
WORKS: Stan Tracey
PERFORMER: Tracey (p), plus Derek Watkins, Tony Fisher, Guy Barker, Henry Lowther, Gerard Presencer (tpt); Pete Beachill, Malcolm Griffiths, Geoff Perkins (tb); Peter King, Jaime Talbot (as; Art Thomen (ts); Alan Skidmore (ts, ss); Dave Bishop (bari s); Dave Green (
CATALOGUE NO: CDP 7243 8 31139 2 7

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A record of Stan Tracey’s 1993 Queen Elizabeth Hall concert marking his 50th year in the business, this CD features the cream of the UK’s jazz talents performing a representative sample of the pianist’s own compositions, interspersed with those of his chief influence – Thelonious Monk aside – Duke Ellington.

Tracey’s percussive, quirky piano holds everything together, from the quartet features involving longtime associates Art Themen (who contributes some wonderfully sour but exuberant tenor to Tracey’s ‘Triple Celebration’) and Peter King (whose astringent alto is showcased on Ellington’s hymn ‘Come Sunday’) through the sextet pieces to one involving the full 15-piece orchestra , but it is the duo tracks featuring young trumpet maestro Gerard Presencer and Tracey’s solo piece, ‘Sophisticated Lady’, which are the album’s showstoppers.

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For both aficionados wishing to re-immerse themselves in Tracey’s superbly pungent music, and for newcomers wanting an overall introduction to the great man, this is essential listening. Chris Parker