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  • Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood
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Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood


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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Aug. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Trio
  • ASIN: B0002XB93C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,981 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cockle row
2. Starless and bible black
3. I lost my step in Nantucket
4. No good boyo
5. Penpals
6. Llareggub
7. Under Milk Wood
8. AM Mayhem

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Smyth VINE VOICE on 17 Mar. 2002
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 By Graeme Wright VINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2006
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 By Kevin Mcclure on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Udeen on 14 Aug. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Hearing 'Cockle Row', the first song in this collection, a listener familiar with American jazz might be forgiven for thinking that the work is a tribute to Thelonious Monk. I am slightly uncomfortable with Stan Tracey's often slavish recreation of Monk's idiosyncratic style but, on the evidence of this suite, Tracey is a jazz composer of merit. The second piece, 'Starless And Bible Black', has nothing at all to do with Monk, and manages to transcend the genre, taking us to a place every bit as dark as suggested by the title.

Monkian or not, 'Cockle Row', 'No Good Boyo' and 'Llareggub' are built around very good ideas. 'Penpals' is a great song and, once more, Tracey steps out of Monk's shadow.

Bobby Wellins' tenor sax work on 'Starless And Bible Black' is rightly celebrated. His playing is characterised by a thin tone and hesitant delivery which work well in this setting. Elsewhere, when more robust and fluent playing is called for, Wellins is less convincing. Jeff Clyne (double bass) and Jackie Dougan (drums) are both competent, rather than inspirational musicians. Consequently, the songs are less engaging when more space is given for soloing.

Notwithstanding these reservations, Tracey's jazz suite succeeds in evoking the spirit of Llareggub. There is a definite sense of 'feel' and unity about this work, and in this it stands out.

NB: I am reviewing Stan Tracey's 'Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood', recorded in 1965, and released on Blue Note International. Search for this item listed as 'Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood', rather than as 'Under Milk Wood' and you might find it offered more cheaply. I did.
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