Stan Tracey, the pioneering jazz musician often considered the 'Godfather of British jazz' by his contemporaries, has sadly passed away following a long battle with cancer. The jazz great's death was confirmed by his relative, Ben Tracey, who announced the news via the Stan Tracey Appreciation page on FaceBook, who wrote a loving eulogy for his late relative.
The younger Tracey wrote on the FaceBook page: "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."
Tracey began his musical career as an accordion player during the Second World War, switching to the piano and joining the Ted Heath Band at the end of the War. He then took up residence as the in-house pianist at London's iconic Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club for six years between 1959 and 1965. He went on to produce the acclaimed Jazz Suite Inspired By Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood' album in 1965, the pinnacle of what was his most creative and successful decade as a musician.
In the 1970's he developed a more avant-garde playing style and moved into more freeform styles of jazz. He eventually set up the (now-defunct) record label Steam and fronted a number of touring bands, continuing to tour actively until his death. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours list, having already been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Jamie Cullum led the tributes for the late jazz pioneer, commending his dedication to performing and calling him "an undisputed icon and innovator in British Jazz."
Our thoughts are with his family and friends in this difficult period.