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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stan Tracey Quartet @ The Sage. Dec.19.

Stan Tracey (piano), Simon Allen (alto & tenor saxophones), Andy Cleyndert (double bass) & Clark Tracey (drums) + Ben Tracey (narration)
Reviewing Sunday's storming session at the Bridge Hotel, Bebop Spoken Here's Main Man - LL - suggested that Stan Tracey would have to play like he's never played before at The Sage the following night to win the accolade of 'Gig of the Year'. LL said all bets were off. Well, he should have put his money on Stan the Man. This was gig of the year!
A good turn-out in Hall Two greeted the Great Man and his Merry Men. Tracey introduced the band and in so doing said he would leave the stage temporarily during the first number not because of his bladder rather his memory - he had left his sheet music back stage! The first tune - Triple Celebration - most recently recorded on the apposite CD Senior Moment was but one of many gems mined from the Tracey back catalogue during the first set. Rocky Mount followed, then Duffy's Circus. The quartet's standard of musicianship could not be bettered. The tunes swung mightily, Simon Allen played great tenor then even better alto. Hearing Andy Cleyndert again served as a reminder of just how good a player he is.
Clark Tracey and Cleyndert have been the rhythm section for years and years and it showed; smiles, a nod of approval, the appreciation mutual. Tracey Snr played more piano on this gig than in a long time. He was in Monk mode, right foot tapping out the rhythm at a rate of knots. What a first set!
Stan's grandson Ben Tracey joined the quartet for the second set as narrator of Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas. This jazz suite, the first music Tracey had written in years, recalled Under Milk Wood. Comparisons were inevitable and perhaps against expectation any such comparisons were most favourable. Ben Tracey, at twenty two years of age, is a star in the making. He cut a figure right out of PG Wodehouse or perhaps that of a young Stephen Fry. One could imagine him as an intern working under the tutelage of Ian Hislop in the office of Private Eye. His delivery of Thomas' words was simply immaculate. Words and music integrated wonderfully; Allen opted to play alto throughout the piece, Cleyndert laid down one of the great solos of all time (not for the first time) and Tracey Jnr (that's drummer Clark) played like he knows he's good (and he is).
The year has brought us many fantastic gigs here in the north east. Stan Tracey at The Sage topped the lot. Stan Tracey celebrates his birthday next week - Friday 30th - in concert in Umbria, Italy. How good is that?
Russell 

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