Tracey/Wellins ‘Play Monk’
Modern jazz has been built on the innovations and sheer individualism of musicians such as Thelonius Monk and so it is of little surprise that other jazz artists should wish to pay tribute to him, with Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band’s ‘Rumba para Monk’ being an outstanding example. While a plethora of these exist, ‘Play Monk’ has the considerable merit of playing Monk’s compositions on the quartet’s own terms and sounds all the better for it. Throughout there is a timeless feel to this live session, recorded at the Bull’s Head in Barnes. What impresses most is the space afforded between notes by the trio with Wellins able to effortlessly join in at the appropriate moment. This is clearly a band at ease with itself and enjoying each other’s company. Of all the compositions ‘Blues Bolivar’ is most Monk-like in execution with Wellins providing a glorious direct solo that is reminiscent of late 1950s Sonny Rollins. On ‘Well you needn’t’ the rhythm section bubbles under the surface, with Clark Tracey particularly inventive on drums, and Stan partakes in long modal runs, stretching the notes to their fullest. The sheer lyricism of Bobby Wellins come to the fore on ‘I mean you’ and both Tracey and Wellins duet to good effect on Monk’s Mood’, while Tracey solos on a mournful version of ‘Round Midnight’. The sound quality for a live recording is exceptionally good and the audience not in the least bit intrusive. Monk would have approved of this hommage.
UK Vibe/ Jazz culture online
Stan Tracey Orchestra at Appleby Jazz Festival (ReSteamed RSJ103)
Stan and Bobby recently repeated their Monk programme at Appleby, where these big band sessions were also recorded in 2004 and 2006. I was there to hear some superb music played by bands stuffed with the very best of today’s British musicians, including Peter King, Alan Barnes, Evan Parker, Guy Barker and Mark Nightingale.
Recording quality is vivid and atmospheric and the music is absolutely glorious.
The Northern Echo
see also : Reviews from Solo to Big Band
more CD Reviews
Three Little Words – Benny Golson
Suspensions and Anticipations – Stan Tracey & Evan Parker
The Last Time I Saw You – Stan Tracey & Pete King
Khumbula (Remember) – Stan Tracey & Louis Moholo-Moholo
With Love from Jazz – Stan Tracey Quartet
Laughin’ & Scratchin’ – Stan Tracey Trio