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
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.