Jazz legend Stan Tracey to play Proms at 82

JAZZ legend Stan Tracey is making his debut at the Proms on Saturday – at the grand old age of 82. Stan, who lives in St Albans, and his all-star band are appearing after a more traditional choral performance of Haydn s The Creation earlier in the evening

JAZZ legend Stan Tracey is making his debut at the Proms on Saturday - at the grand old age of 82.

Stan, who lives in St Albans, and his all-star band are appearing after a more traditional choral performance of Haydn's The Creation earlier in the evening.

He will be performing his dynamic Genesis Suite, originally written in 1987 and offering a secular jazz musician's angle on the origins of humanity.

Stan Tracey arrived on the British jazz scene in the 1940s as an accordionist and occasional pianist. Rock and roll had not been invented so the continuing popularity of jazz meant there was work for good musicians in ballrooms, restaurants and West End shows.


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Before long the fast-learning Stan could improvise streams of new melody from tunes he had never heard before and was working almost night and day in the West End.

Then in 1960 he began the job that changed his life when he became house pianist at Ronnie Scott's Club in London. He began developing as a composer, culminating in the 1965 Under Milk Wood suite which he recorded with his regular saxophone partner Bobby Wellins.

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Despite the stints at Ronnie Scott's taking their toll and Stan almost quitting, a new generation of British jazz musicians brought him back from the wilderness in the early seventies. His musical horizons have expanded ever since from solos, trios, quartets and quintets to his powerful Ellingtonesque big band.

The award-winning documentary, The Godfather of British Jazz, dedicated to Stan Tracey can be seen at 2pm next Saturday at the Royal Geographical Society in Prince Consort Road, S7. Admission is free.

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