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Jazz Suite - Under Milk Wood

Stan Tracey Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Jan 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Pinnacle
  • ASIN: B00002540T
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,708 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

This 1965 recording is perhaps the most highly regarded jazz album ever made by British artists. Since its first release by Columbia it has been reissued numerous times on various labels, growing in stature and critical acclaim on each occasion. The suite of eight pieces was inspired by characters and turns of phrase in Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas's "play for voices", which Tracey knew well. Each piece has a strong, memorable theme and robust harmonies, but the enduring appeal of the whole work lies as much in its tones and textures. Tracey's percussive, full-chorded piano makes a wonderful foil for the tenor saxophone of Bobby Wellins, whose slightly lost, slightly foggy sound dominates the slower pieces, especially the sublime, floating "Starless And Bible Black". There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in jazz. This new edition has been sensitively remastered by Clark Tracey and Tristan Powell to retain the warmth of the original 35-year-old recording. A genuine classic restored. --Dave Gelly

Product Description

Stan, often referred to as the Godfather of the jazz scene in the UK, is one of the greatest jazz improvisers in the world today. This recording, made in Stan's 74th year, bears testament to that. The recording is of a concert of Stan's best known work Under Milk Wood with his original saxophonist Bobby Wellins together with the delights of the Welsh actor Philip Madoc breathing whimsical life into the words of Dylan Thomas.

The Quartet has been Stan's working group for several years and features the strong cohesion between Bobby, Clark Tracey, Andy Cleyndert and Stan which they have developed over the past few years. The Quartet is in top form, as is Philip Madoc, and the recording reflects the essence of what has made Stan Tracey such a master of composition, piano playing and group leading.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does anyone realise how good he is? 17 Mar 2002
By Gareth Smyth VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Stan Tracey is the London-born pianist/composer/band leader of whom Sonny Rollins once asked: "Does anyone here realise how good he is?" By "here", he meant England. Under Milk Wood is one of my favourite records, recommended by my brother Bernard of Yate the jazz freak. Recorded in 1965, it's a series of sketches inspired by the Dylan Thomas radio play, and it has a weird overall coherence that mixes playful spontaneity and lyrical beauty. The quartet is really excellent, with the lovely tone of Bobby Wellins' tenor sax finding a little more edge than his more mellow recordings. The rhythm section - Jeff Clyne (bass) and Jackie Dougan (drums)- are crisp and clean, and Mr Tracey flows around like a gentle, insistent brook. This is a remastered CD and the sound is great. Treat yourself. You know you deserve it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proud to Be British 18 Feb 2006
By Graeme Wright VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Dylan Thomas' prose and poetry was, it is generally regarded, music to the ears. Thomas had an enormous capacity for finding just the right word for a poem even if it took him weeks or months to do so. While writing Under Milk Wood he is reported as spending months locked in his famous white hut writing draft after draft before settling on the chosen words.
And so it is with Stan Tracey. The legendary Jazz pianist appears to have undertaken a similar artistic journey before completing this suite inspired by Under Milk Wood. The result, in eight movements is reasonably faithful to the tone and tempo of the play but to my mind the opening piece, Cockle Row is a little too bright and breezy in comparison to Thomas' early lines on the same theme - a little more mystery and drama may have been more appropriate Mr Tracey. That aside the titles alone are just great jazz - I Lost My Step In Nantucket, Penpals, A.M. Mayhem. If only British jazz had followed Tracey's rationale after 1965 and mined similar rich veins we would not just be rediscovering the apparently lost gems of the late 50s and early 60s which we are.
Britain ( and Jazz) owes Stan Tracey an enormous debt. This, let's face it, is British Jazz's greatest hit. If you've not heard it yet do so ASAP, if it isn't part of your collection rectify this right now. You will not be disappointed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 7 April 2006
Format:Audio CD
This music is Stan Tracey's definitive work. The original 1965 edition is inspired, Most of the reviews here actually apply to that 1965 recording and I would recommend that you do buy that album; none of the praise is overstated. This recording, however, is the more recent live recording with Philip Madoc reading the words of Dylan Thomas, as the album description above clarifies. This lifts the music to another level and the delight with which Madoc reads the words brings them to life in a way that few marriages of music and spoken word can.
This is not, however, the first recording of the music and words together. In 1976 there was a recording from Wigmore Hall with: Stan Tracey (p), Art Themen (ts), Dave Green (b), Bryan Spring (d), Donald Houston (narrator, Derek Jewell of the Sunday Times gave this a rave review although I have never heard it. Bobby Wellins is back with Stan for this recording. It was Bobby's sax improvisation that brought the original definitive work to life and both he and Stan bring an added depth to their playing here. It is also great to hear Clark Tracey in such excellent form. In his early day in the band there were some who doubted his right to be playing along side his old man but this proves them all wrong.

This is not a substitute for the original album, the music alone is still a must have but you should also try to get this wonderful live version if and when you find it available. I have to ask why this has become so difficult to get after such a short time.
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