Stan Tracey Quintet
The Flying Pig
Stan Tracey has pulled out of two Scottish jazz festivals recently due to illness, so it's good to hear from this album, recorded earlier this year, that at 86 he remains as sharp-witted as ever on piano and is still committed to nourishing youthful talent. These six tracks also contradict a statement he made some time ago - that he wouldn't be composing any more music. A visit to the First World War battlefields in Northern France, where his father was wounded and captured in the fighting, has clearly inspired him: the smart, businesslike hard bop of Bouncing Bertha, Silent Percy and the title track, the relaxed, amiable feel of Weary Willie and the bright, dancing Narpoo Rum all find Tracey soloing with well-developed ideas and vigour while his young frontline of Simon Allen (saxophones) and Mark Armstrong (trumpet) play with a lively sense of enquiry and forthright personalities. Ballad For Loos, not surprisingly, offers rather more reflection but otherwise this is finger-snapping Britjazz from its acknowledged godfather.