January 30th sees piano legend Stan Tracey play a major concert at the Barbican, London. The concert will range across Tracey's career, with the London premiere of a major big band piece, Genesis
, a sequence of pieces for an Octet with a front line of fine soloists--Guy Barker, Alan Barnes, Mornington Lockett and Mark Nightingale--as well as solo and trio sets.
For many fans, the highlight of the evening will be a very rare performance of Tracey's spectacular piano duet with Keith Tippett, a reunion that many had given up hoping for. The duo, which last appeared in public appearance in July 1980, shows Tracey at his freest. Working with Tippett encouraged him to leave song form behind and improvise in a more open way, with results which are often quite breathtaking. There remains little in improvised music as thrilling as these two masters in full flight.
Tracey has occupied a very special place at the heart of jazz in Britain since the sixties, when his Under Milk Wood suite marked the emergence of a distinctive British response to the African-American traditions of the music. His piano style, with echoes of Ellington and Monk is essential Tracey in its witty and absorbing twists and turns - and he is a composer of real substance, the creator of a series of extended suites that combine a rare command of melody and groove, laced with sumptous brass and reed textures.