Stan Tracey, Who Aided Pluck British Jazz From American Shadow, Dies at 86

December 10th, 2013

Stan Tracey, a pianist and composer who was a single of the most hugely regarded jazz musicians in Britain and a mentor to several young gamers, died on Friday. He was 86.

His loss of life was announced on his internet site. The announcement did not say in which he died or specify a trigger, but he experienced just lately been taken care of for most cancers.

With his distinctive piano type and bold compositions like his “Under Milk Wood” suite, Mr. Tracey demonstrated forcefully that British jazz could have a character of its personal, respectful of but not beholden to American influences. He received new followers globally in the eighties as a member of the 33-piece jazz ensemble led by Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer — one of a lot of more youthful British musicians he impressed.

Mr. Tracey first captivated intercontinental attention in the sixties, when, as the resident pianist at the London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, he accompanied going to American musicians like Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery and Sonny Rollins. Mr. Rollins turned an enthusiastic enthusiast, and the two labored collectively on the soundtrack of the 1966 movie “Alfie.”

For the duration of his 7-year tenure at Ronnie Scott’s, Mr. Tracey also composed and recorded the eight-portion “Under Milk Wood” suite for jazz quartet, inspired by the Dylan Thomas radio play of the exact same identify. It became his best-acknowledged perform, but it was only the initial of a lot of prolonged compositions he would publish, including “Alice in Jazzland” and “Seven Ages of Guy.”

A harmonically adventurous pianist whose main influences were Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, Mr. Tracey was self-taught and commenced his skilled occupation as an accordionist while even now in his teens. Soon after serving in the Royal Air Pressure in Entire world War II, he performed piano on cruise ships. He toured the United States and somewhere else with the well-known dance band of Ted Heath, for which he also wrote arrangements, ahead of forming his possess team in 1959.

Perform turned scarce as jazz waned in reputation in the seventies. But, inspired by nicely-acknowledged more youthful British jazz musicians like the pianist Keith Tippett and the saxophonist John Surman, he continued doing and before long skilled a career resurgence.

He was named an Officer of the Get of the British Empire in 1986 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008. He was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 1993 for his album “Portraits In addition.”

Mr. Tracey’s closing album, “The Traveling Pig,” was released this 12 months on his very own ReSteamed label.

Stanley William Tracey was born in London on Dec. 30, 1926. His spouse, the previous Jackie Buckland, died in 2009, and his daughter, Sarah, died previous year. He is survived by his son, Clark, a jazz drummer and a longtime member of his band.

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