6 September 2010

STAN TRACEY - THE LATIN AMERICAN CAPER




















Stan Tracey, his Piano, Big Brass & Woodwinds for Columbia UK from 1969.
Stan Tracey - Piano & Musical Director ;Kenny Baker, Derek Watkins, Eddie Blair, Les Condon - Trumpets ;Keith Christie, Maurice Pratt, Bobby Lambe - Trombones ;Chris Taylor, Roy Willox, Ray Swinfield - Flutes ;Ronnie Chamberlain, Don Rendell, Derek Collins - Clarinets ;Barry Morgan - Drums & LA Percussion ;Dennis Lopez, Stuart Gordon - LA Percussion ;Lennie Bush or Dave Green - Bass ;Alan Branscombe -Vibraphone & Marimba
Recorded at Lansdowne Studios in London on July 16/17 1968
Supervision - Denis Preston;Sleevenote - Peter Clayton;Engineer - Adrian Kerridge

Here's Peter Clayton's excellent sleeve notes :
Stan Tracey is one of those people who could go to a fancy dress ball in full klu klux clan regalia and still be instantly recognisable. I'm speaking figuratively, of course: for him to appear physically outlandish is unthinkable. You could set him down on London Bridge Station any weekday afternoon around 5.30 and lose him in the crowd. It is in the artistic sense that Stan's craggy, positive personality breaks through any attempt to disguise it.
Not that any too deliberate attempt has been made in the case of this, at first sight, uncharacteristic album, The sombrero and poncho were not intended as camouflage but as a stimulating splash of specialised colour to help Stan think himself into an unusual and indeed unlikely situation. the idea, in fact, was not to produce a Latin-American album by Stan Tracey, but a Stan Tracey album with Latin-American overtones. And since the whole project was in a sense an adventure the avuncular title of LATIN-AMERICAN CAPER at once suggested itself.
At the core of the music thus created is the Stan Tracey Trio - Stan on piano, Lennie Bush on bass and Barry Morgan, drums. With the addition of sundry Latin-American percussive noises and Alan Branscombe on vibes or marimba this is the small group which performs Because I Tell You So, Ouida and Obiah.
Another of the groups involved is the Stan Tracey Big Brass - a variant of the ten piece brass choir already heard on the Tracey-Bilk collaboration BLUE ACKER (Columbia TWO 230) and Stan's Ellingtonian tribute, WE LOVE YOU MADLY (Columbia SCX 6320). The Big Brass is featured on Capullito De Aleli, on One For Bo Bo and on What Else Can You Do With A Drum?
The third and perhaps most intriguing ensemble is what in score-readers' parlance is simply referred to as "WW" - or woodwind. From a front line of three flutes and three clarinets this combination produces the most satisfying of sounds, quite unlike anything that Stan has written before. If I say, for instance, that it has something of Gil Evans about it (especially on Come Out And Meet Me Tonight) it is only to convey an idea of its atmosphere. It is not like the writing of Gil Evans, but it's nearer than anything else. One For Sass and Bakiff are the other two titles by this particular group, which is also notable for having Don rendell amongst its clarinetists and solist on One For Sass, and Chris Taylor of the Philharmonia among the flutes. It is Chris who plays the opening theme of Come Out And Meet Me Tonight.
Stories go with some of the titles. What Else Can You Do With a Drum? is from Duke Ellington's least played suite - A Drum Is A Woman. (If Stan were the sort of man to believe in deification there's no doubt his musical diety would be Ellington!). Because I Tell You So is a Tracey original (even his titles bear his hallmark) and was once intended as a part of the WITH LOVE FROM JAZZ suite (Columbia SCX 6205) but somehow got left out. The Sass of One For Sass is Stan's daughter, Sarah. The woodwinds handle this one with the kind of forcefulness one doesn't normally associate with flutes and clarinets. Ouida is not a further excursion into English literature. (I doubt the novels of that curious Victorian authoress would stimulate even Stan's quirky musical mind into activity!). Capullito De Aleli, for Big Brass, shakers, bangers and scrapers, is the classic Noro Morales speciality.
Stan first came across Come Out And Meet Me Tonight on an Art Blakey album. There's fascinating voicing for woodwinds on this one. Obiah is something to do with black magic. I don't know what exactly, but it's a word much connected with the occult arts in Caribbean society. Bakiff is the old Juan Tizol number associated, like Tizol himself, with the Ellington orchestra. One For Bo Bo is the brother of One For Sass, Bo Bo being Stan's code name for his young son, Clark.
Despite protestations that he's not really a Latin-American man, Stan does seem to have been affected by the percussive nature of the music. I've seldom heard him so crisply reminding us that the piano is, after all, a percussion instrument. Obiah is probably the track that points it up most, but the driving effect is there even on a ballad like Because I Tell You So. For me it's the quality that makes the jazz piano the exciting thing it is. Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor and Thelonius Monk have all been aware of little levers working little hammers and haven't wasted their time trying to turn the instrument into a sort of keyboard trombone. It is this kind of attack, moreover, which helps generate the swing without which the whole point of jazz, Latin-tinged or otherwise, is lost.

First time out in blogland for this lp which has never made a reissue in any form. Even though Mr Tracey regards it as his "least favourite session of all time" it's still(for me if nobody else!).....
All killer no filler !

31 comments:

Bacoso said...

vinyl rip@320:
http://rapidshare.com/files/417364825/STAN_TRACEY.rar.html

Bacoso said...

For those of you who are into British jazz Kenny Wheeler's superb 1968 collaboration with Johnny Dankworth's Orchestra "Windmill Tilter-The Story of Don Quixote" has been reissued today on cd by BGO.Mines in the post - can't wait!

Ramu said...

Hi, I tried to get Windmill Tilter reissued years ago as part of the Impressed Re-pressed series (I helped compile the Impressed comps with Gilles P). Manged to get a first batch of reissues out (Mike Taylor, Neil Ardely, Amancio D'Silva etc..) but Universal, as ever lost faith, let it all slip iaway to labels like BGO and Vocalion. Had a killer hitlist of all the Lansdowne stuff - Rendell Carr, Hum Dono etc... they couldn't care less. Treat their catalogue - and music fans - with contempt. Impressed 3 has been ready to go for about 6 years - and Universal??? What do you think, not awhiff of interest. Shame, as it has top stuff from Dick Morrissey, Kenny Wheeler, Quincicasm, Don Rendell etc on it. Don even wrote an introductory piece for my notes... maybe you could post it on here!! Keep up the good work, you're doing a great service to music fans.

jazzuk said...

This Stan Tracey is a real gem. Much appreciated. Cheers!

Bacoso said...

Ramu : Thanks for your very interesting comment.Sad to say it doesn't surprise me at all.
I would love to post Don's piece here!Ping it over to the usual destination :
orgyinrhythm@googlemail.com

katonah said...

Tried to enjoy snippets of this the other day, but a certain someone was spoiling the ambiance wrestling with worlds biggest cat in the kitchen.:)

many thanks as always;
Bring on the Don.

BobSanders said...

Great. Many thanks.

Bob S

elhobo said...

One for Bo Bo is fantastic and what a great lp.Thanks Bacoso - still the original and the best in blogland!

Wallofsound said...

Bacoso, thank you very much for this.

On the subject of Universal re-issues, they just didn't sell that well. Although the GP compilations did well, the follow-ups lost money. We need more people to support such re-issue programmes if large companies are to keep their commitment. Whatever, the music survives through all that industry stuff.

Phillip said...

Sensational! And what a line-up in the band! Thank you.

mike said...

Thanks for this!

Does anyone have a link to Stan Tracey & Keith Tippett's "Supernova"? I'd love to hear that one....

http://www.vortexjazz.co.uk/cd-reviews/supernova.html

verge said...

excellent write up that made me more interested in peeping this than the title suggested.
Thanks again Bacoso, for all the self less sharing.

Reza said...

Thanks, yeah still waiting for that Neil Ardley Symphony of Amaranths reissue ...

Happy birthday mate !

taro nombei said...

looking forward to hearing this — it's not come my way before. thanks every time...

baf said...

thanks again

yewsta said...

Many thanks

chano said...

New to my ears. Thanks Bacoso.

Simon666 said...

Love some tracks here, grabbed by the exotica of 'Bakiff" with the haunting flute lines, and "Because I tell you so" for the piano and vibes, thanks B :)

insta said...

Thank you for this rarity! Very interesting listening, I love how Mr. Tracey cuts through a layer of Easy Listening woodwinds with his dissonant chords.

bluebird said...

Thanks Bacoso - must be worthy of cd re-issue. Come on Stan, see if you can exert a bit of pressure somewhere.
Just got my 'Windmill Tilter' - a knockout. Did you hear a bit of Booker Little here and there?

bluebird said...

Thanks Bacoso - must be worthy of cd re-issue. Come on Stan, see if you can exert a bit of pressure somewhere.
Just got my 'Windmill Tilter' - a knockout. Did you hear a bit of Booker Little here and there?

yoshio said...

fantastic what a great british jazz lp!

Coolroy said...

oh baby

Desdemona said...

thanks so much! I love British anything. :)

DonHo57 said...

great share....many thanks!!!

grumpy said...

Many thanks, Bacosa.

Laddy said...

Hey, thank you.

janbeatz said...

"borrowed"this one from my high school record library in1985...haha,great stuff as always,a true head.

janbeatz said...

"borrowed"this one from my high school record library in1985...haha,great stuff as always,a true head.

uppoppedthedevil said...

I loved this and didnt think I would - a few listens and i was really switched on to it.Thankyou.

Doug S. said...

I grabbed/adored this when it was originally posted, but I just lost it in a hard-drive crash. Any chance you might re-up?