Stan Tracey Orchestra
At the Appelby Jazz Festival (ReSteamed)
Stan Tracey turned 80 this year, and is still going strong. Everyone does it now, but the pianist was a pioneer in setting up his own record label, Steam, in the 1970s. ReSteamed is dedicated to re-releasing classic but long unavailable recordings, augmented by newer but previously unheard outings like this one, featuring material recorded at Appelby in 2004 and 2006 with a stellar British big band.
The recorded sound is adequate rather than great, and the material is a familiar mix of original compositions with tunes from the Monk and Ellington repertoire, but many of his arrangements have not been recorded before, and the playing from stalwarts like Guy Barker, Henry Lowther, Peter King and Tracey himself is excellent. For a taste of a much earlier phase of his big band writing, check out ReSteamed’s recent re-issue of Alice in Jazzland, from 1966, with Bobby Wellins, Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes among the musicians. (Kenny Mathieson)