Stan Tracey Quintet ‘The Flying Pig’ (Resteamed) 4/5

stan_traceyAs we post our review of Stan Tracey’s latest album, we are saddened by the news of his passing. He was truly one of the best musicians, not only in this country, but the world, and the world will now be a sadder place without him and his music. Steve Williams

A participant in the recent London Jazz Festival, pianist and leader Stan Tracey is quite simply a national jazz treasure and here is a compelling case to back up the hyperbole. Surrounded by a trusted band that includes son Clark on drums, Andy Cleyndert on bass and a twin horn section, the music on this album veers between Monkesque flavours and a definite nod to the mid-1960s Jazz Messengers. There is an urgency to the title track with a precise and beautifully clear-toned trumpet solo from Mark Armstrong while ‘Narpoo Rum’ is an uplifting Latin-inflected number (with Caribbean and blues hues from Stan’s soloing) which, in its horns riffs, pays homage to the Art Blakey and Jazz Messengers sound that permeated albums such as ‘Indestructible’ and is all the better for that. If Monk is evoked here, then it surely on the opener ‘Big Bertha’ with a fiery alto saxophone solo from Simon Allen that echoes Jackie McLean. An epic fourteen minute rendition of ‘Weary Willie’ is a mid-tempo piece that is characterised by lovely unison horns and an extended alto solo. The album itself was inspired by a visit to the Northern French World War I battlefields and is a homage to Stan’s father. Tim Stenhouse