Senior Moment (Download)


Stan Tracey Quartet

Recorded January, 2009

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Stan Tracey Quartet


  • Stan Tracey – Piano
  • Simon Allen – Saxophones
  • Andy Cleyndert – Bass
  • Clark Tracey – Drums


  1. Afro-Charlie Meets the White Rabbit
  2. Duffy’s Circus
  3. Dream Of Many Colours
  4. Rocky Mount
  5. Triple Celebration
  6. Stemless
  7. Benology
  8. January’s Child
  9. Portrait Of Katie
  10. Zach’s Dream

Recorded January, 2009


“Stan Tracey returns with one of his freshest sounding recordings in years and at least one of the reasons for this seems to be the new musical collaboration with young and upcoming talent in saxophonist Simon Allen alongside long-term band members Andrew Cleyndert and drummer Clark Tracey. The elder Tracey has enjoyed special musical relationships with some of the all-time greats…more/less of the saxophone, most notably Sonny Rollins and Roland Kirk during their residency at Ronnie Scott’s, and this new recording recalls in part both the intimacy of the small group albums of Johnny Hodges and Ben Wesbster with Duke Ellington, and even the Duke with John Coltrane on their sole collaboration. For this latest album Tracey has revisited some of his vast back catalogue of his compositions and, in addition, offering an excellent new suite, ‘The Grandad Suite’, devoted unsurprisingly to his own grandchildren. Coltrane and Ellington are indeed conjured up with the reflective ‘Dream of my colours’ featuring beautiful soprano saxophone from Allen while in contrast ‘Duffy’s Circus’ is an uptempo bop number in which Stan Tracey stretches out and Allen delivers a fiery solo on alto. There is an obvious nod to Thelonius Monk on the be-bop number ‘Afro-Charlie meets the white rabbit’. However, of the non-suite pieces, the tour de force is unquestionably the calypso driven ‘Triple celebration’ where the tenor of Simon Allen hints at late-fifties Sonny Rollins and the overall feel is one that Dollar Brand would be at home with. The lengthy four piece suite impresses greatly with the lyrical first piece, ‘Benology’ the stand out track once again featuring the soprano saxophone of Allen and one of the album’s most melodic pieces wheareas the fourth part, ‘Zach’s dream’ is a blues-inflected number that is the ideal vehicle for Stan Tracey to solo at length. As ever immaculate accompanying from Andrew Cleyndert and Clark Tracey respectively. This is one of Stan Tracey’s most enjoyable albums in several years and a very fitting tribute to his sadly deceased wife Jackie.”

Tim Stenhouse

“This is the first new Stan Tracey recording I’ve heard in ages and deserves to be hailed as on of his best. The band is so relaxed. Sounds just as though they were on a gig. Quite a few first takes? Stan really is a national treasure. In his 80’s, he’s playing better than ever…more/less Maybe the choice of notes and chords are more mellow than dissonant these days. But everything sounds so right, especially in his comping. Clark and Cleyndert have played together so often with Stan, they seem of one mind and also make the most of the many solo spots they’re given. Their swing is constant and uncontrived. Simon Allen is excellent, too. He has all the technical proficiency of his American counterparts, but sounds so much more human and emotional than most. He’s equally strong on all his horns, with his alto particularly impressive. All four sound as thought they thoroughly enjoyed themselves on the session. The titles include reworkings of some earlier Tracey tunes, plus a couple of previously unrecorded ‘Grandad Suite’ segments. Best for me include ‘Afro Charlie Meets the White Rabbit’, ‘Duffy’s Circus’, ‘Dream of Many Colours’, ‘Stemless’ and ‘Zach’s Dream’. Stan dedicates the record to wife Jackie, who recently passed away. A contemporary of mine long ago at Decca, she started as switchboard operator (with Sir Edward Lewis among her fans), progressed to promotion, then shortly after producing his classic ‘Lil Klunk’ for Tempo, left to manage Stan. Always feisty, to put it mildly, she gave up everything for Stan and will be missed.”

Tony Hall


“Along with Andy Cleyndert (bass), Clark Tracey (drums) and Simon Allen (alto/soprano/tenor), Stan Tracey revisits some of his old originals for an album as fresh and enjoyable as anything he’s ever done. The relative newcomer is Allen, a formidable talent with wide experience at the top table and the ability to burrow into a piece, take on its colours, produce exhilarating solos and quit with plenty of gas left in the tank… It’s a serendipitous gift, since Tracey’s pieces, though rooted in the old song form structure and the blues, have a distinctive character to flavour Allen’s hard bop approach. The seasoned rhythm section is superb and Tracey’s piano a constant joy, while the quartet brings a palpable assurance to its work, notably on Duffy’s Circus, Rocky Mount, Stemless and the delightfully eccentric Afro-Charlie Meets the White Rabbit . No senior moments here.”

Ray Comisky

Irish Times

“It’s a catchy, Caribbean-tinged, joyful tune that could have been written by Sonny Rollins, and the saxophonist is doing nothing to dispell that thought. The pianist launches into a solo of exuberant high and low end keyboard conversation, before the saxophonist returns to work a sure-footed and nearly manic display of melodic happiness. Meanwhile the rhythm team buoys them all along, the bass solo takes the theme of enjoyment on and the drummer carries it through. And then it’s back to the head. The whole thing seems to be over in less than a minute, though it has lasted more than five. That’s what happens to time when you are having fun… more/less The tune is Triple Celebration, and Simon Allen is on saxophone, Andy Cleyndert on bass and Clark Tracey on drums. And, of course, this whole widely beaming, overflowing with joy and good vibes thing is masterminded by our favourite grump, Stan Tracey, on piano. Stan’s always played a strong card in irony and deadpan, of course, the title is a classic case in point. In a blindfold test the ages of the band members and the number 80 would have no chance of being mentioned, yet this adventurous, spirited, robust and superbly executed album is the latest from the supreme grandaddy of British jazz. Some of those half his age should be ashamed! Senior Moment is made up of new versions of tunes from his vast library: Duffy’s Circus, Stemless, Dream of Many Colours, etc and making up the second half is the four-section The Grandad Suite of recently written pieces inspired by his grandchildren. Of course, we know of Stan’s exemplary taste in musicians, but a special word for Simon Allen is in order. We may be familiar with his playing from a longish stint in Clark Tracey’s band, and with the BBC, Laurence Cottle and Matthew Herbert big bands, but he really gets to shine at length here, and, on whichever saxophone he chooses, he is superb: articulate, impassioned, big and bold or more delicate of tone as the music dictates, and always matching head and heart in perfect balance. You feel like every note is considered and every note is heartfelt; he doesn’t let his concentration stray for an instant, neither does he let in any cliches. All in all, a storming set.”

Peter Bacon