Clark Tracey - Stability - All Music Guide

Scion of foremost English jazz pianist Stan Tracey, drummer Clark Tracey has gathered a group of top-of-the-list U.K. jazz artists for a session that incorporates a variety of playing modes, including a contribution by Irish avant-garde singer Christine Tobin. There's hard bop, some smooth jazz, and pretty ballads with a string quartet in attendance. Tracey has found a successful and accommodating method to solve the conundrum drummer leaders often find themselves faced with, viz., to dominate and run the risk of overwhelming or to lie back and be the main rhythm. He provides rhythmic support, adding well-timed drum breaks and short but telling solos. The drummer adopts a broad definition for "support." Tracey is quite active on such cuts as Giant Steps, where he and pianist Gareth Williams offer a much more straight swinging version of John Coltrane's classic than usually heard, likely because of the strong involvement of Tracey's drums. On tunes as Black Coffee,,the drummer lays back as Tim Garland's sax takes the lead with the Locrian String Quartet on hand to provide the bulk of the musical background. Tracey also contributes well conceived, melodic originals such as Lounge Blues,a tune that exudes an exotic aura which Iain Ballamy's soprano sax helps create with Tracey's cymbals and Arnie Somogyi's bass. Irish singer Christine Tobin provides a vocal recitation of the moving poetic lyrics for Tracey's Stability..The lieder recital mood is set by the Locrian String Quartet, the only instrumentation on the track. One of the more intriguing cuts is a pensive piano solo by Tracey, giving a rare airing of Duke Ellington's Melancholia. "Stability" is a seminar on eclectic musical styles and is recommended.

All Music Guide
22 May 2003