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Portraits Plus

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Album Review

Stan Tracey has long been a part of the British music scene, having played with Ted Heath's Orchestra in the 1940s. He also served as the house pianist for most of the '60s at Ronnie Scott's, where he had the opportunity to back many visiting American jazz stars, including Sonny Rollins, Zoot Sims, Dexter Gordon, and Stan Getz. Many of the pieces on Portraits Plus are dedicated to his favorite American players (though he didn't necessarily play with all of them). Leading a potent octet, the pianist begins with "Newk's Fluke," a chugging, engaging post-bop vehicle which includes a blend of Latin and Brazilian rhythms and potent ensembles. "Rocky Mount," named for Thelonious Monk's North Carolina birthplace, has the flavor of a Monk composition and a burning tenor sax solo by Art Themen. The moody "One for Gil" salutes Gil Evans, while "Clinkscales" (named for Duke Ellington's first piano teacher) is a swinging up-tempo blues that has a passionate Peter King alto sax solo. The remaining two songs are not portraits, but they round out the session very nicely. Licensed by Blue Note for issue in the United States, this excellent CD didn't remain in print long and may be getting somewhat difficult to find.

Top Albums and Songs by Stan Tracey Octet

Portraits Plus, Stan Tracey Octet
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  • $6.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Dec 14, 1992

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