This latest release from Trio Records features the ‘Godfather of British Jazz’ Stan Tracey and his Trio with the internationally renown trumpet player Guy Barker in their first recorded quartet session. Guy Barker has had a long association with Stan Tracey over the years working with Stan Tracey in the Stan Tracey Orchestra and Hexad, and also working as a part of Clark Tracey’s Quintet, and so was an obvious choice to expand the latest crop of recordings featuring Stan Tracey's Trio. The rapport in the group is obvious from the opening track. Both Stan Tracey and Guy Barker contribute some original material, Stan Tracey bringing his catchy ‘Let Them Crevulate’ and the beautiful ballad ‘Strange Fruit’, whilst Guy Barker brought in his moody ‘Sovena’ and the more urgent ‘Copper Kiss’. 'Let THem Crevulate' also gave the opportunity to make a duo recording of the little known Billy Strayhorn composition ‘My Little Brown Book’ which Stan Tracey and Guy Barker have played live together on many an occasion.
Its title may be a load of nonsense ("crevulate" is a meaningless word attributed, by Stan Tracey, to the writer James Thurber), but luckily this CD is quite the opposite. The veteran British pianist is on top form, playing in the company of his regular bandmates plus trumpeter Guy Barker. His rapport with Tracey shines through especially on their duet of 'My Little Brown Book'. Equally noteworthy is Barker's superb duet with bassist Andrew Cleyndert on 'Lullaby of the Leaves'.
Alison Kerr THE SCOTSMAN
Guy Barker is a trumpeter with a sound that brings to mind comparisons with edible substances. Butter? Cream? Caramel? None is quite right, but it's certainly smooth and delicious. His playing sometimes reminds me of Harold "Shorty" Baker, which is a compliment, since no trumpet player in jazz ever produced a richer tone than Baker's. This is in a way a self-indulgent recording since it consists of nothing but four musicians playing nice tunes - there's no innovation, no experimentation, but it all sounds good. Best of all, perhaps, is the duet between Barker's trumpet and Stan Tracey's nicely vinegary piano on Billy Strayhorn's My Little Brown Jug (partly because it is one of the prettiest tunes ever conceived by the human mind). But the quartet version of Thelonious Monk's Monk's Dream comes close; so does Stan Tracey's Monkish title composition, Let Them Crevulate. The meaning of "crevulate" is obscure: it is a nonsense word variously said to have been invented by the tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins or the American writer James Thurber. Whichever is correct, I doubt it would help to describe the mellow timbre of a trumpet.
Martin Gayford THE TELEGRAPH
The title 'godfather of British jazz' seems to have become permanently attached to Stan Tracey, who turns 80 at the end of this year. But he doesn't sit in lonely, godfatherly eminence. Indeed, the fl ow of new recordings seems to increase with the years. This partnership with Barker is particularly enjoyable because they spark off each other, taking the improvisation into constantly surprising byways. As usual, there is one tune each from Tracey's twin inspirations, Ellington and Monk, but the real high point is a Tracey- Barker duet on Billy Strayhorn's rare 'My Little Brown Book', wonderfully calm and soulful.
Dave Gelly, THE OBSERVER