Jazz drummer marks four decades in the business

Clark Tracey
Clark Tracey

Shoreham’s Ropetackle welcomes one of jazz’s most influential drummers.

Spokeswoman Nicky Thornton said: “Celebrating his 40th year in jazz, Clark Tracey is probably best known for his tenure in his late father Stan Tracey’s ensembles.

“Clark has been leading his own groups since the early 80s and won the British Jazz Award for Best Drummer in 2016 and 2017.

“Tracey leads a brand-new line up of extraordinary young talent in his quintet. Already steeped in the history of jazz, his group comprises the 19-year-old BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year winner, Alexandra Ridout (trumpet), as well as 17-year-old runner-up sax-player Sean Payne, along with alumni from the Birmingham Conservatoire, Elliott Sansom (piano) and James Owston (bass). Three of them are still at college!

“In this, their debut concert for the South Coast Jazz Festival (SCJF) the group will look back to the earliest bebop compositions by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie who laid the foundations for modern jazz and created the springboard for the jazz greats who emerged thereafter.”

SCJF artistic director Claire Martin said: “We’re so excited to present Clark Tracey’s brand-new quintet for their debut concert at the South Coast Jazz Festival. As the son of legendary jazz pianist Stan Tracey, Clark has been a true tour de force on the UK jazz scene and is constant in his support of younger players coming up through the ranks.

“This concert will shine a light on these amazing young players and Clark will also be signing his new book about Stan, as well as talking to me before the concert about all things bebop.

“Bebop is a style of jazz characterised by a fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity and improvisation. Dubbed the musician’s music because of its difference to the more danceable swing jazz of the 40s, bebop is the combination of harmonic structure and sometimes references to the melody.

“By the end of the 60s, this style had become synonymous with the start of modern jazz.”