Stan Tracey is one of the finest jazz pianists and composers, not merely in his native Britain, or in Europe, but in the world. This is a welcome reissue of two albums from the late 1950s.
Showcase is a collection, as one may guess, of songs from musicals, many of which have become standards in the jazz world. Here, Tracey is still finding his feet, as it were, on the piano, and his distinctive style hadn't fully formed. That isn't to say that it's not superbly executed; it's a very enjoyable set.
Little Klunk, named after a cartoon character, came a year afterwards, when Tracey's distinctive, indeed unique, style had fully emerged. Backed by the powerful Kenny Napper on bass and Britain's best jazz drummer of the day, the late Phil Seamen, Tracey's composing and playing are first-rate. It's all great stuff, but listen most of all to the brooding masterpiece 'Boo-Bah'.