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on 10 December 2011
Avid must be just about the best reissue label in the UK at the moment -= double well-filled CD sets at a bargain price.

Even if you have the three albums previously reissued on Jasmine a decade ago (Little Klunk and Showcase from 1958/59 and Jazz Inc under Tony Crombie's name from 1960), any serious collector of Stan Tracey's work will need this set because it includes previously unrelaeased broadcast material featuring Tubby Hayes and some fairly recent tracks fveaturing American guitarist Jon Wheatley.

It is gratifying that so much of Stan's back catalogue is readilly available now, and these previously unreleased gems provide an extra incentive to get hold of these earlyish examples of Stan's work (Klunk and Showcase were the first records issued under his own name, made during an unhappy stay in the Ted Heath Orchestra). As if this wasn't enough, there are two tracks with Stan as sideman in 1955 in a quintet featuring Vic Ash on clarinet, still happily playing in his 80s, and the late Harry Klein one of the few great baritonists in the UK in the 50s and 60s. Harry had a unique style, totally removed from the Mulligan influence, unlike mosty other bari players of the day. These come from a rare Columbia EP, issued under Harry's name with the unimaginative tiotle "Baritone Sax". Avid are very generous to offer so much for so little money. Buy it now before it gets deleted

Andy Cleyndert and Stan himself have also been responsible for making Stan's older works available again (as well as examples of the now eighty-something Stan's latest work. What we need now are reissues of his solo "In Person" EMI Lp of 1967, and I would appreciate a reissue of his 1969 "Latin American Caper" EMI disc. Both were produced by Denis Preston and perhaps Stan, Andy, or Vocalion would oblige?
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on 15 March 2014
There is a tendency to over-praise some of the British jazz from the 1950's and 60's as if everything was either over-looked or under-appreciated. In the case of the music on this disc the music is several cuts above that offered by Stan Tracey's British contemporaries with even the performances on the early "Showcase" album marking out the originality that most jazz in this country lacked until the late 60's.

I think that this is terrific value for money. The opening set of standards fascinates even if the tunes where Tracey switches to vibes with a guitar laying down the harmonies to produce something slightly less rugged than the piano trio. The sets with Tubby Hayes playing vibes offer a more jagged sound than say the rather polite MJQ whilst the two number where ST was a sideman with Harry Klein's quintet sound a bit ordinary and of their era.

There are three revelations for me on this double CD. The first is the medium sized "Jazz, Inc" which was a short lived group which, on the evidence of the live performance on this record, really understood how jazz worked and deliver a set that is easily on a par with much American jazz from the 1950's. I was startled how good this group was - especially as I had never heard of them. The four closing number sit at odds with the historic recordings that make up the rest if the CDs as it is a trio of Andy Cleyndert and American guitarist Jon Wheatley (a new name for me) recorded in 2003. Seemingly a giveaway element of this record, the four tracks as so good you wish there was a whole album of this stuff.

As good as the rest of the album is, it has to be said that the incorporation of the record "Little Klunk" raises the game as far as the quality of the music is concerned. Tracey frequently acknowledge his debt to Ellllington, Monk and Herbie Nichols yet this album shows how original he was in this school of jazz with his trio of Kenny Napper and Phil Seamen producing some inspired jazz. It is an interesting to compare the music from "Little Klunk" with the Monk offering on the Avid label as, in my opinion, Tracey's offering is actually superior to most of the content and certainly equal to the "Trio" album than contained much of monk's finest work. I believe that "Little Klunk" is staggeringly brilliant and would be worth acquiring alone regardless of the quality of the rest of the music. As it is, this is easily one of the most consistent of all the classic jazz series that Avid have offered and opens a door to the finest jazz Britain was producing at the time. It is impossible to award this less than 5 stars.
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on 23 September 2013
Stan Tracey is the most outstanding jazz musician and composer in the UK and one of the best in the world. I have followed his work since the 1960's, and it is marvellous to have this excellent value collection of early records with some superb performances. Lots of musicians here that I used to see at the university jazz club and at various festivals. It is great that there are dedicated people out there re-issuing performances by greats like Stan, Tubby Hayes, Mike Osborne. And I for one am glad that we can buy them through Amazon!!
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on 29 April 2013
Nothing new here but if you missed some of this early British jazz then my advice is to catch up. Tracey and Hayes in top form.
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on 14 September 2015
Great,inexpensive double from Avid Jazz.Stan Traey,the godfather of British Jazz,in all his early glory.The shades of Monk shine through,and that is no bad thing,at least as far as I'm concerned.A roster of our home grown greats are also present,and my only question is---why read this,when you could be ordering the thing?Go on,hurry up!
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on 22 February 2016
Brilliant value for money. How nice to let the techies worry about transferring the analogue to digital and enjoy the high quality fruits at so little cost!! Having a range of LPs available allows you to hear the wonderful Stan Tracey (and money other British greats such as Tubby Hayes) developing a unique style enriched by a little Bud Powell here, or Thelonius Monk there. The package includes text and line-up details from the original LP covers too.
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on 6 March 2014
An interesting selection of performances by Stan Tracey with other groups and famous names. Although the influence of Thelonius Monk can be heard, Tracey' style is not like anyone else's.
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on 28 January 2014
The great Stan Tracey could do little or no wrong in my eyes (& ears) RIP. I have seen him many times and only wish I'd managed to attend a performance of "Under MIlk Wood"
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on 18 March 2014
The three classic album series are always excellent value for money and this is no exception. Covers a very wide breadth of stan's repertoire and style. Buy it
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on 11 September 2015
Three classic Albums(Stan Tracey Showcase).
Alright to complete your Stan Tracey oeuvre! Variable
Rita Craft, London
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