Stan Tracey is an outstanding figure in the jazz world. His distinguished career has spanned five decades of flourishing creativity. He has been a highly influential and stimulating musical voice, not only to his peers but to each successive generation of musicians with whom he has worked.
Stan’s capricious piano playing combines the percussive melody of Thelonious Monk with the robust lyricism of Ellington in a highly idiosyncratic style. A master of harmony, he possesses a potent and compelling improviser’s intellect. Through Stan Tracey’s unflinching commitment and dedication has emerged a very rare artist who has sustained an output of highly exceptional music throughout his career.
A self-taught musician, Stan played his first professional engagement aged sixteen. The unlikely start of such a prestigious career saw him working for the forces entertainment network ENSA. However he quickly became involved in the lively emerging London jazz scene of the 1950s, playing in the bands of Laurie Morgan, Kenny Baker, Ronnie Scott and Tony Crombie.
From 1957-9 he played piano and vibraphone and arranged for the Ted Heath Orchestra. As house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s club from 1961 to 1967 Stan played with many of the most important figures in jazz history including Ben Webster, Roland Kirk, Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Sonny Rollins. His stature at that time is illustrated by his collaboration with Sonny Rollins which produced some of the most creative music of both musicians’ careers.