Last Friday - December 6th - the UK and the jazz world lost one of its most innovative pianist's & composers, Stan Tracey.
Along with Stan Tracey's Quintet, he and John Surman were scheduled to play together as part of the very recent EFG London Jazz Festival. The opportunity to witness them play together in recent years was rare indeed, so it was with sad news that Stan's health had deteriorated enough for him not to play that day.
John had the unenviable task of announcing that Stan's health was very poor but spoke beautifully of Stan's contribution to jazz and produced some very sweet anecdotes of their time playing in the London scene over 4 decades ago.
The show on Sunday 24th Nov continued with John playing solo and then introducing Andy Cleyndert on bass, Stan's son Clark on drums and Stan's chosen pianist for the afternoon, Steve Melling. They played a sublime rendition of Stan's seminal composition 'Jazz Suite inspired by Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" first released in 1965. Two photographs from that show are featured below.
There are - quite rightly - a myriad of obituaries however I feel that Serious' Director John Cummings (Serious also produce the EFG LJF) and The Guardian's John Fordham offer particularly wonderful insights into Stan's legacy.
RIP Stan Tracey.