This 2CD reissue brings together two classic 1970's Steam LPs, 'The Bracknell Connection' (1976) and 'The Salisbury Suite' (1978), by the Stan Tracey Octet plus one previously unheard lengthy 19+ minutes encore from 1978. Neither of these recordings has been available on CD before and they have long been sought after by collectors.
In the early Seventies, Stan had left his long tenure at Ronnie Scott's Club as house pianist and began experimenting with different forms of jazz. This led to the formation of his octet which while drawing on a spontaneous urgency in its improvisation, had a more structured compositional framework, rooted in Stan's previous decades of scoring for big bands. Indeed the octet was often classified as a "small big-band".
The personnel of the octet was drawn from leading jazz musicians on the mainstream and contemporary UK jazz scenes - Malcolm Griffiths, Harry Beckett, Peter King, Art Themen and Don Weller. The commissions, for the most popular British jazz festival throughout the Seventies, held at South Hill Park in Bracknell, and the Salisbury Arts Festival were the beginning of more than 30 years of performances by the octet and a wealth of original composition.
Personnel: Stan Tracey (piano), Malcolm Griffiths (trombone), Harry Beckett (trumpet), Peter King, Jeff Daly (alto saxophone), Art Themen (tenor & soprano saxophone), Don Weller (tenor saxophone), Dave Green (bass), Bryan Spring (drums)