FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE
Just Friends Blah de Blah de Blah For Heaven's Sake All Of You Light Blue Crepescule With Nellie The Dolphin Only Child Bright Mississippi H.J.C.
Stan Tracey - piano, Gerard Presencer - trumpet/flugelhorn
Andrew Cleyndert - bass, Clark Tracey - drums
The opportunity to present this first recording by the New Stan Tracey Quartet has been an event of great importance to me for a number of reasons. It perfectly fulfils the motivation for the Cadillac Label's creation and continuance since 1973, to wit the documentation and dissemination worldwide of unique moments of creative music making by artists with whom it has been my privilege to associate on a basis other than the purely commercial. It once again links us with a highly significant point in Stan's continual artistic development following on from his historic Wigmore Hall concert in June 1974 when we presented him in a solo and duo recital that produced the Alone LP (SGC 1003).
My first awareness of Stan came from the Vogue LPs issued during my days behind the counter in Doug Dobell's legendary Record Shop, followed by involvements in appearances by the New Departures Quartet organised by our mutual friend Victor Schonfield - I still remember hitch-hiking to Oxford on my halfday off from Dobell's to see them at the Carfax Rooms followed by climbing in to one of the colleges to spend the night on Victor's floor.
During the mid Sixties a period as a general odd-bod on the staff of Ronnie Scott's original Gerard Street premises brought me in daily contact with Stan who for most of that decade was house pianist, providing visiting "giants", especially Sonny Rollins, Zoot Sims and Ben Webster with some of the most challenging and rewarding partnerships of their careers. Nightly exposure to these feasts cemented my appreciation of Stan's artistry.
Working with Mike Westbrook in the early Seventies we decided to launch our own label commencing with material by Mike's then current band. Mike Osborne, a longtime member of previous Westbrook units, then brought us a tape of the concert he had played the previous year with Stan Tracey, an electrifying encounter between two totally honest, emotionally creative music makers, both devoid of any preconceived limitations on the art of the improviser. Such a powerful performance demanded an equally dynamic follow-up release, hence the Wigmore session (of which the duo section still lurks in the archives).
By now marketing our albums together with those of a number of other independent, mostly musician owned labels that blossomed forth in the early Seventies curtailed my production activities. My links with Stan continued through our distribution of he and his wife Jackie's Steam label, augmented by attending as many of his gigs as possible.
The appearance of each new permutation, the big band, Hexad, the octet, various duos and the enduring joy of the quartets and quintets with Bobby Wellins, Art Themen, Don Weller and Peter King has been an undiminishing source of pleasure throughout the Eighties and on into the Nineties . . . and now comes yet another inspired teaming to quarry fresh gems from the inexhaustible lodestone of Stan's genius.
In the alliance with trumpeter
Gerard Presencer Stan maintains what by now, given its longevity, could
be termed a tradition with him. From the commencement of his career
in the Forties he has always found most artistic satisfaction and stimulus
from associating with people with open and enquiring minds rather than
those who leap on each new passing fad; his involvement with Laurie
Morgan, Sonny Rollins, John Stevens, Mike Osborne, John Surman, Keith
Tippett, Bobby Wellins, poets Pete Brown and Michael Horovitz are but
a few examples that spring to mind. Still only in his early Twenties,
Gerard has already at least a decade of public performance, frequently
in some fast company, to his credit, which gives him a firm foundation
for the adventures ahead with Stan. And, what gives additional value
and excitement to this initial outing by the Quartet is that it is the
product of their first get-together - prior to any gigs as a unit! With
a debut this powerful it's mind-boggling to contemplate their impact
live, especially after a few gigs - catch them when you can.
Stan Tracey's capricious piano playing has the percussive melodiousness of Thelonious Monk tempered with the robust lyricism of Ellington. He has been a highly influential and stimulating musical voice, not only to his peers but to each successive generation of musicians he has worked with. His new quartet features the cream of young British jazz talent. Clark Tracey has made his own mark on the jazz scene during the last 15 years, not only as a drummer but as a leader of an impressive series of groups. He has performed and recorded with the like of Johnny Griffin, Pharoah Sanders, Scott Hamilton, Tina May and Claire Martin, whilst his own bands have featured such creative talents as Django Bates, Jamie Talbot and Julian Arguelles. "One of the most impressive drummers in Britain" (The Times) At 23 Gerard Presencer is already one of the most accomplished soloists on the music scene. A truly precocious talent, his early years belie his artistic maturity. At 11 he became the youngest ever member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. He has worked alongside Johnnie Dankworth, Ronnie Scott, Kenny Drew, Ray Charles and Charlie Watts. On moving to London from his native Birmingham in 1982, Andrew Cleyndert met saxophonist Bobby Wellins and Don Weller, and took over the bass chairs in their respective bands. Stints with Tommy Chase and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra followed. He has toured with Ted Curson and Bobby Watson, broadcast as a member of Kenny Wheeler's big band, and more recently has worked with Ronnie Scott and the singer Carol Kidd.