Personalities | Stan Tracey | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

(Piano, accordion, vibraphone, composer, arranger, b. 1926)

Stan Tracey is one of the UK’s most original and talented jazz musicians, yet he has always remained underrated by critics; Sonny Rollins is quoted as asking ‘Does anyone here realize how good he really is?’. Londoner Tracey was playing professionally from the age of 16, before landing the job of house pianist in Ronnie Scott’s Soho jazz club. There he accompanied the big names of the day, including Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sonny Rollins, with whom he recorded the soundtrack for the film Alfie (1966). He played solo and in various line-ups ranging from duos to big bands, and had a big hit with his 1965 album Under Milk Wood, inspired by Dylan Thomas’s audio play and featuring the breathy saxophone playing of Bobby Wellins.

Tracey has released over 45 albums and has received an OBE as well as various music awards. He has continued to compose, tour and record and has also taught for many years at London’s Guildhall School of Music. Despite his long career and life in the jazz fast-lane, Tracey has remained refreshingly self-effacing and down-to-earth.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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