12/08/13

Stan Tracey, Veteran British Pianist, Dies at 86

A 70-year career highlighted by a Dylan Thomas tribute album

Stan Tracey, a British pianist and composer whose career spanned 70 years, died Dec. 6, according to his Facebook page. The cause of death was cancer; the place of death was not announced. Tracey was 86.

Best known for his 1965 album Jazz Suite Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood”, Tracey was born on December 30, 1926, in Denmark Hill, South London. He began playing piano professionally in his teens and joined various groups in England. He toured the United States with Ronnie Scott and also with the Ted Heath Orchestra, supporting singer Carmen McRae. He later became the house pianist at Scott’s London jazz club.

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Stan Tracey

Citing Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk as influences, Tracey recorded several albums in different styles, in addition to the Thomas tribute, and accompanied Sonny Rollins on the soundtrack to the film Alfie.

Tracey was popular in India and the Middle East as well as Britain, and although he never gained wide recognition in the United States, he continued to perform in the U.K. until late in his life and was the subject of a BBC documentary.

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