British jazz legend Stan Tracey dies

6 December, 2013 in News

Stan Tracey

Stan Tracey, the jazz pianist and composer also known as “the Godfather of British jazz,” has died at age 86.

Under Milk Woodn the day the world mourns the great Nelson Mandela, let us also spare a thought for the passing of Stran Tracey, one of the greats of the British jazz world. Tracey was best known for Under Milk Wood, his 1968 LP based around Dylan Thomas’s radio play. His work helped British jazz develop its own unique sound rather than imitate the sounds of the US. Tracey also persuaded many British jazz musicians to develop their own sounds and step away from simply covering standards.

Tracey was born in London in 1926. He was an accordion entertainer during the Second World War, and performed with the Ted Heath Band. Inspired by the likes of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, Tracey became a house pianist at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in Soho, London. He had respect from peers such as famous saxophonist Sonny Rollins and had developed a modern fanbase thanks to support from the likes of Radio 6 DJ Gilles Peterson.

The news of his passing was announced on the official Stan Tracey Appreciation Facebook page, where a statement read: “It is with deepest regret that I must announce the death of Stan Tracey OBE, CBE today, at the age of 86. After a struggle with illness, he passed away having recently celebrated his 70-year professional career as a jazz pianist/composer. He is survived by a family who love him and will miss him profoundly. His legacy is the generations of musicians young and old, past and future who have his influential example to look to. Many thanks to all those who have shown him such love and support over these many years.”

His son Clark, who is himself a percussionist, said: “Stanley William Tracey passed away peacefully this afternoon. Finally the pain has gone and he can rest in peace.”

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