Based on the poems of five Ulster poets.
All compositions by Stan Tracey
THE PARTY - W R Rodgers (1909-1969)
DIDN'T HE RAMBLE - James Simmons (b.1933)
SONG FOR STRAPHANGERS - George Buchanan (b.1904)
STRANGE FRUIT - Seamus Heaney (b.1939)
DUFFY'S CIRCUS - Paul Muldoon (b.1951)
Stan Tracey (piano).
Art Themen (tenor/soprano saxophones)
Roy Babbington (bass)
"This extraordinary generation of Ulster poets" -- that's how a recent document from the Poetry Society in London referred to the local nest of singing birds. Commentators throughout the English-speaking world -- and beyond -- now generally agree that a disproportionately large amount of the best poetry now being written comes from Northern Ireland. Stan Tracey's The Poets' Suite celebrates this unexpected flowering through the life-enhancing generosities of another cultural phenomenon, jazz.
Lovers of Irish poetry must be pleased that the spirit of the late W. R. Rodgers informs the suite. For several years the Presbyterian Minister at Loughgall, he wrote some of the finest religious poems and love poems in the language. George Buchanan is the senior poet reflected in Tracey's music. His poems may be seen as salvoes against what he calls "aesthetic and emotional impoverishment': The youngest poet Paul Muldoon hails from the Moy in County Armagh which inspires many of his delicate, riddling lyrics. The middle generation is represented by James Simmons who is most profoundly an artist when he is also an entertainer; and Seamus Heaney, the best known contemporary Irish poet, the roots of whose rich achievement are in Bellaghy and its surrounding townlands.
Ezra Pound once suggested that poetry withers the further away it wanders from the spirit of dance. Stan Tracey's The Poets' Suite demonstrates that Ulster poetry remains true to the vitality of dance and, indeed, of jazz.
THE POETS' SUITE The Suite, since its premiere on a tour of Northern Ireland by the Quartet in April 1984, has been performed at several centres in Britain including Sheffield, Manchester, Exeter and Bracknell Jazz Festival. BBC Radio Ulster recorded a live performance in Belfast for transmission as part of their celebrations of 60 years of Broadcasting in Northern Ireland.
STAN TRACEY QUARTET
STAN TRACEY, who has just celebrated 40 years in jazz, is now widely regarded as one of the finest jazz pianists in the world and one of Europe's most significant jazz influences. Stan's career stretches back to the formative years of modern jazz; in the Fifties he worked with many top name bands including the famous Ted Heath Orchestra. For several years until 1967 he was resident pianist at the Ronnie Scott Club where he worked with almost every visiting American musician from Sonny Rollins to Jimmy Witherspoon, from Ben Webster to Roland Kirk. It was during this period that he formed his own quartet and big band and produced suites such as 'Alice in Jazzland' (1966) and the timeless 'Under Milk Wood' (1965).
Since then Stan has led various highly original bands, working in combinations from solo to 18-piece, and he continues to produce an impressive number of full-scale compositions.
is a brilliant saxophonist with immense range and imagination who began playing during his student days at Cambridge. He has worked with Al Haig, Alexis Korner, Jack Bruce and Michael Garrick and has been with Stan since 1975. His distinctive style makes him one of our most popular players. ROY BABBINGTON
is one of the country's leading bass players who has worked with an impressive number of top groups and musicians including Soft Machine, Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia, Mike Gibbs, Annie Ross and Gary Burton. Since 1978 he has been working with Stan Tracey as a member of the Quartet, Sextet, Octet and Big Band.
now rated as one of todays best young drummers joined Stan in 1978, at the age of 17. Clark, together with Roy and Art, forms the nucleus of Stan's various groups from Quartet to Big Band.
The current Quartet has been together since 1978 and has received much acclaim in South America, the Middle East, India, Greece as well as in Britain.