Stan Tracey Trio with Peter King
Chega de Saudade (8.46)
Cool Street (6.26)
Come Sunday (5.55)
"The Last Time I Saw You.."
Total Time 53.29
Stan Tracey (piano) Andrew Cleyndert (bass) Clark Tracey (drums) Peter King (alto)
Recorded at The Studio, Gt Austins, Farnham, Surrey, England on 30th January 2004 (Tracks 1-6)
Recorded at Appleby-in-Westmorland 25th July 2004 (Track 7)
Stan Tracey has been playing Monkish bop piano in his stubbornly inimitable way for so long that, in his 77th year, there doesn't seem much the British jazz legend could add to the fine albums he's been releasing since the 1950s. However, whether you're a Tracey completist or a newcomer to his music, this album, featuring Tracey's regular trio with alto saxophonist Peter King fronting, is essential.
Tracey and King are such old hands you might assume they could sleepwalk through a set like this, but the encounter (they have not recorded together in a quartet for over 20 years) makes them both sound like eager teenagers, though teenagers with very precocious technical skills. Antonio Carlos Jobim's Chega de Saudade could hardly be diverted in a more uncompromising way from the usual sashaying Latin manner, Tracey stabbing and chipping at its implications, and often sounding arrestingly like the late Mal Waldron.
Sam Rivers' Beatrice takes Peter King into such a gruff lower register that he sounds like a tenor player, and on King's own ballad Clover, Tracey plays a beautiful solo of dancing figures and stolidly planted sounds with the alto weaving rapturously around him. King's Cool Street is the highlight, a strange, off-the-melody fast bop tune featuring a superb sax solo, and he's in his element on Duke Ellington's Come Sunday. Straight ahead as it gets, but one of the standout jazz albums of the year.
A long awaited quartet collaboration between Stan Tracey and one of the greatest alto players in the world, Peter King. Although Peter has been a part of Stan Tracey's music for as long as anyone cares to remember, being a member of Stan's Octet and Big Band, this is the first album featuring the two masters in a quartet setting.
Recorded in an afternoon with the minimum of arrangement this was deliberately a free wheeling session to bring out the best improvisations from the two of them, including a stunning duet setting of 'Come Sunday'. The album also includes a tune from a follow up concert at the Appleby Jazz Festival 2004. The title of the CD by the way is a dedication to all those die hard Stan Tracey fans who regularly appear at Stan's gigs and introduce themselves with the opening gambit..."The last time I saw you ..." 9 times out of 10 it involves dates in the sixties!
It has been far too long since we last heard these two giants together, and this disc catches them in excellent form.
There is a special magic in the combination of Tracey's knotty, probing piano and King's mercurial alto saxophone. They bounce ideas back and forth with such determination that you can get quite dizzy following them, and King has this trick of coming up with a clinching phrase at the last possible moment. The set consists of six studio pieces - including Ellington's 'Come Sunday' and a couple of King originals - plus the title number, improvised on the spot, recorded at this year's Appleby Festival. Quite rightly, it is credited to all four - Tracey, King, bassist Andrew Cleyndert and drummer Clark Tracey. !
Dave Gelly - Observer Sunday December 12, 2004