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Jazz legend Stan Tracey on top form

PUBLISHED: 10:52 18 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

Stan Tracey

Stan Tracey

The acclaimed UK jazz pianist, Stan Tracey, and his quintet played to a full house at the Maltings Arts Theatre last Saturday. Great band, great venue. The freewheeling blues opener gave each musician the chance to deliver his own authoritative calling ca

The acclaimed UK jazz pianist, Stan Tracey, and his quintet played to a full house at the Maltings Arts Theatre last Saturday. Great band, great venue.

The freewheeling blues opener gave each musician the chance to deliver his own authoritative calling card. We were clearly in for an explosive ride.

Highlights? Any of Stan's solos, but especially in Bright Mississippi, when his trademark stabbing chords and mischievous descending runs of syncopated notes showed not a whisper of declining vigour.

Praise too throughout for Guy Barker on trumpet - his virtuosity demonstrated in Sweet and Lovely, where a move from hard bop to yearning melancholy was seamless.

New boy, alto saxophonist Sam Mayne - well, new to us, but specially picked by Stan - revealed at once in his rendition of I Can't Get Started With You just why he was chosen.

Most extraordinary of all was the marathon exchange between bassist Andrew Cleyndert and Clark Tracey on drums, in Stan's own Buffy's Circus, which went on forever in glorious relentlessness and left the audience helpless with applause.

Stan, at 82, has just brought out his latest CD of original work, Senior Moment, (four stars in The Guardian) including the newly-compiled Grandad Suite. What a survivor! We're lucky to have him.

Marion Hammant

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