Tributes paid after St Albans musician dubbed 'Godfather of British jazz', Stan Tracey, dies

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Stan Tracey Stan Tracey

The world renowned St Albans pianist, dubbed the "Godfather of British Jazz", Stan Tracey, has died following a long battle with cancer.

His death, on Friday, was announced by his son, the jazz drummer Clark Tracey, who said on his website: "Stanley William Tracey passed away peacefully this afternoon. Finally the pain has gone and he can rest in peace."

The 86-year-old, had a distinguished career spanning 70 years and is best known for his mid-1960s suite inspired by the Dylan Thomas drama Under Milk Wood.

The musician started his career as an accordion player during World War II.

A message posted on the official Stan Tracey Appreciation Facebook Page said: "It is with deepest regret that I must announce the death of Stan Tracey OBE, CBE today, at the age of 86.

"After a struggle with illness, he passed away having recently celebrated his 70 year professional career as a jazz pianist/composer.

"He is survived by a family who love him, and will miss him profoundly. His legacy is the generations of musicians young and old, past and future who have his influential example to look to.

"Many thanks to all those who have shown him such love and support over these many years."

Stephen Hyde said on behalf of Herts Jazz: "Herts Jazz Club was privileged to have Stan as its Patron and he played here two or three times a year and also at our annual Herts Jazz Festival.

"I know all of our members and regulars felt honoured and very lucky to witness and listen to a true master."

Working in London after the war, Tracy met Ronnie Scott and was encouraged into taking up jazz music as a full-time career. He joined the Ted Heath dance orchestra before taking up residency at Ronnie Scott's.

The jazz club paid tribute to its former house pianist on Twitter, saying: "Another legend passes. RIP Stan Tracey."

The musician received several awards throughout his career, including a lifetime achievement accolade at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2002 and the first Ivor Novello award for jazz in 2012.

He became an OBE in 1986 before being awarded a CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours list.

Several television documentaries were made about him, including an edition of the BBC's Omnibus in 1977, and Channel 4's 2003 programme The Godfather of British Jazz.

One of Tracey’s closest collaborators Bob Wellins posted on his website: "We were deeply saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Stan Tracey, a dear friend and musical collaborator of Bobby’s for over 50 years and with whom Bobby recorded and performed on many occasions."

Jazz artist Jamie Cullum said on Twitter: "He played like a demon right up until his last days on earth as an Eightysomething."

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