Stan Tracey should be heralded as one of the greatest pianists in jazz (not just the British variety). While he is often lumped into the 'Monk' school of piano playing, his ability to compose interesting and varied themes - Under Milk Wood is as good as anything produced across the Atlantic - is often overlooked.
This album demonstrates just why Tracey was Ronnie Scott's house pianist for many years and why so many American visitors rated his abilities. It also shows that he was capable not just of small-group perfection but also of managing the sounds of large-scale units. Although the cover suggests something a little more psychedelic in actual fact this album is a fine statement of the levels that the post-bop big band had reached in the late 60's.
Stan Tracey is a legend of British Jazz and still going strong. I know it's a bit of a cliche but if he had been born in America there's a likelihood that he would be far better known. Tracey is often lazily compared to Monk and Ellington and although there are some broad similarities he definately has his own voice.
Alice in Jazzland is my favourite Tracey album. It's a big band album from 1966 that has excellent writing from Tracey. A variety of strong soloists appear including Bobby Wellins and Kenny Baker along with brief appearances from Tubby Hayes and a young Kenny Wheeler. The standout track for me has to be the wonderfully manic 'murdering the time' - the title sums it up perfectly. I would definately agree with the liner notes that state that the album is probably the best British big band album - it could certainly give a lot of American big band albums a run for their money as well.