The Stan Tracey Quintet - The Bull's Head - 27th November 2004

Now I must admit that jazz is not something I was aware of me having a fancy for but in retrospect I guess it was always around - my dad had a fondness for jazz - although had no time for anything "modern" and so much of the film music I listened to wasn't really film music but jazz.

Just over a year ago I took up playing the piano - my teacher asked me "why?" - my answer was "Hoagy Carmichael, Chico Marx and I'd like to to be able to bash out 'Come to me my Melancholy Baby' when we had friends round'.

Now having taken up piano I decided I really ought to listen to more piano music - there isn't too much in the indie that I normally listen to so my first port of call was the classics - and while it was interesting listening to Schubert and Liszt I never really found it inspiring. Thelonious Monk changed everything - and from there it was inevitable that I would find myself, as I currently am, buried to my neck in Jazz.

The problem I had with Jazz was the musicianship - there was always the worry that the quality of musicianship was more important than the passion for music - in rock, musicianship is often unimportant and occasionally even a hindrance. On Saturday while wathcing the wonderfully tight Stan Tracey Quintet at The Bulls Head it finally occurred to me that where rock suffered when the musicians took over (guitar and drum solos in rock!) in Jazz it is the solo - and the musicianship behind it - that is where the passion stems from. What would ruin a rock concert is what made this concert special. A tenor and an alto sax, a drummer, a bass player and Stan banging away at the piano, each in turn showing what they can do and each appreciating each other. It all made for a very enjoyable and inspiring night.

It really made clear exactly why I wanted to play the piano.