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21/08/2014 21:58

Q#73 – Stan Tracey “Jazz Suite: Under Milk Wood”


In the first days of 2014 we will remember the great artists who passed away in 2013. The best tribute we can pay THEM is to keep on listening and enjoying their artistic work, recognize its value and thank them for having given us so much.


Stan Tracey

Dec. 30, 1926 – Dec. 6, 2013

Piano, Vibraphone

Stan Tracey, a pianist and composer who was one of the most highly regarded jazz musicians in Britain and a mentor to numerous younger players, died on Dec. 6. He was 86.

With his distinctive piano style and ambitious compositions like his “Under Milk Wood” suite, Mr. Tracey demonstrated forcefully that British jazz could have a character of its own, respectful of but not beholden to American influences. He gained new fans worldwide in the 1980s as a member of the 33-piece jazz ensemble led by Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer — one of many younger British musicians he inspired.

Mr. Tracey first attracted international attention in the 1960s, when, as the resident pianist at the London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, he accompanied visiting American musicians like Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery and Sonny Rollins. Mr. Rollins became an enthusiastic fan, and the two worked together on the soundtrack of the 1966 film “Alfie.”

During his seven-year tenure at Ronnie Scott’s, Mr. Tracey also composed and recorded the eight-part “Under Milk Wood” suite for jazz quartet, inspired by the Dylan Thomas radio play of the same name. It became his best-known work, but it was only the first of many extended compositions he would write, including “Alice in Jazzland” and “Seven Ages of Man.”

He was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1986 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008. He was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 1993 for his album “Portraits Plus.”

by Peter Keepnews, published Dec. 9, 2013, The New York Times (excerpts). Read more here.


Bobby Wellins remembers: “I was watching Tv one night, some detective thing, and “that solo” was playing on the stereo in someone’s house. I tried to phone Stan, but it was over in a moment.

Recorded: May 1965

from “The Penguin Jazz Guide – The History of the Music in the 1001 Best Albums”, Brian Morton & Richard Cook, 2010

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1 response to Q#73 – Stan Tracey “Jazz Suite: Under Milk Wood”

  1. Beautiful and quiet…

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