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COVENTRY JAZZ FESTIVAL Concert Review: The Stan & Clark Tracey Big Band, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, 24 August 2002

Although this was billed as a Big Band Concert, only the second half featured the 11-piece band that the Tracey father and son combination had assembled. The first half featured various members of the band in different settings, starting with a Stan Tracey piano solo on Whatís New.

A trio version of It Donít Mean a Thing If It Ainít Got that Swing followed. Jeremy Brown on bass replaced the advertised Andrew Cleyndert. Features for Peter King, Guy Barker and Mornington Lockett followed and then it was the turn of Jay Craig on Baritone who played a delightful version of Sophisticated Lady. Steve Waterman was also featured as a replacement to Martin Shaw on trumpet. Alastair White was also featured as a replacement for Andy Wood. Even though the audience were expecting to hear the big band, the sheer virtuosity of the musicians featured on the first set, held the audience who were suitably appreciative of their efforts.

The big band performed items from the joint leaderís Continental suite, which were the highlights of the second half. South America, China and Africa are the first items in a suite that has been partly commissioned by the Arts Council. The compositions were interesting, but perhaps not memorable. The musicianship was outstanding and it would be unfair to single any of the soloists out for special attention, each one was superb.

A minor criticism would be that the balance on the sound system was far from perfect and possibly more attention to the sound checks would be beneficial in future concerts.

The Coventry Jazz Festival Committee is to be congratulated on including this concert in their programme.


Don Mather


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