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Stan Tracey | Back

Born in 1926, Stan Tracey has been one of the most distinctive musicians on the UK jazz scene for more than 60 years. Although he made his first records as a leader in the late 1950s, he really came to prominence when he became house pianist at Ronnie Scott's Club in 1960, a position he held for around eight years, working with a whole host of visiting American stars including Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins.

He was originally dismissed by some critics as an imitator of Thelonious Monk, but gradually recognition dawned that - although he certainly counts Monk and Ellington as major influences - he has an entirely distinctive approach of his own, both as a player and as a composer. His 1965 recording 'Under Milk Wood', inspired by the Dylan Thomas radio play, remains a classic of UK jazz, and many subsequent recordings, from solo to big band, have added to a magnificent body of work.

Now in his 80s, he continues to play with undiminished inventiveness, and is rightly regarded as a musician not just of national, but of international stature.

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