Thursday 28th January - 8pm
Review by Trudie Squires
Simon Allen (tenor/alto/soprano) Stan Tracey (piano) Andrew Cleyndert (bass) Clark Tracey (drums)
THE advancing years have failed to diminish the genius of 83-year-old jazz pianist Stan Tracey who, with the latest version of his fabled quartet, played to a capacity audience at the first Jazzsteps’ gig of 2010. Showcased was the quartet’s new saxophonist, the extremely young Simon Allen, playing alto, tenor and soprano saxes; his preferred instrument was the alto and he played with a crisp, perky tone, which was perfectly adapted Stan’s quirky piano, obviously dedicated to the unorthodox style of the legendary Thelonious Monk – one of Stan’s mentors in his 60 years in the jazz business. Allen’s tenor sax was equally effective, with a laid back, burnished tone. On both saxes, he showed an affection for the instruments’ higher register. Stan’s son, Clark Tracey was a superb musical percussionist – his ear ever alert on what the front-liners produced; his cymbal sound exhilarating. Alongside bassist Andy Cleyndert completed a formidable rhythm team; he fashioned wonderful four-note chords in some of his solos, notably on Duke Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood, while he drove the ensemble along with a wonderful, deep driving sound. Most of the tunes were Tracey originals, a collection of past and present. Afro-Charlie was another obvious nod in the direction of Thelonious Monk; Stan’s piano was sheer joy! January’s Child – a ballad – featured Stan’s more orthodox approach with sonorous block chords before Allen’s caressing tenor took over. Stemless, a prancing 12-bar, was another chance for Stan to exhibit his wide-spaced phrasing, before handing over to Cleyndert, whose intricate solo was delivered with his benchmark huge tone.