Published: 15 December, 2011
by SEBASTIAN TAYLOR
Now in his mid-80s, piano jazz great Stan Tracey is playing Dylan Thomas again at the Kings Place arts venue tomorrow (Friday).
Tracey’s 1965 recording of his Under Milk Wood suite remains a jazz classic.
Nearly 50 years on, he’s gaining inspiration from another of the poet’s works.
This time, it’s one of Thomas’s most popular prose pieces A Child’s Christmas in Wales, recorded by the poet in New York one year before his death in 1953.
Playing with Tracey will be his son, drummer Clark Tracey, saxophonist Simon Allen and bassist Andy Cleyndert. Another of his sons, Ben Tracey, will read from Thomas’s evocative and magical story.
Even at the very opening, the Tracey-Thomas combination could well be compelling: “All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves.”
Tracey will go out on some keyboard explorations in a performance certain to evoke the spirit of the festive season.
“It was on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim.
“It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas.
“December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats.”