The Clark Tracey Quintet’s UK tour culminated in their only Wales date: a concert for Narberth Jazz at the Plas Hotel.

The concert on June 20 was delivered in two cracking sets with enthusiastic applause from the audience, writes reviewer Gordon Barry.

The first set started with two diversely characterful pieces from Clark’s father Stan Tracey, ‘Rainbow At The Five Mile Road’ and ‘Euphony’.

With ‘My One and Only Love’, RJ Gilbert belied his youth and produced consistent effortless fluency and breath control throughout each of his performances.

Thelonious’s ‘Blue Monk’ followed – not an easy work to play but pianist Dave Newton delivered a stunning performance.

The next tune was ‘A Bitta Bittadose’ , a great crowd pleaser, which gave each musician a chance to rise to the occasion.

The reeds of Simon Allen (tenor) and RJ Gilbert (alto) leading the horn choruses and encouraging each-other’s performances, clearly creatively enjoying each other’s playing and company.

The inventiveness of Dave Newton’s piano complemented the fine work on double bass of Al Swainger topped off with Clark Tracey demonstrating why he is constantly rated as the UK’s best drummer with his inventive use of his kit.

Clark Tracey is often regarded as the UK’s best drummer.
Clark Tracey is often regarded as the UK’s best drummer. (Pic supplied)

Second set started with another Stan Tracey piece ‘A Funky Day in Cardiff Bay’. Followed by ‘This I Dig of You’ and the Sonny Rollin’s drum lead Latin shuffle, ‘St Thomas’, with Simon Allen using the soprano sax. All participants thoroughly stretched their music prowess’s to the delight of the audience.

The short but sweet encore was Rollins ‘Oled’ A fitting piece to round off a glorious evening of the highest quality music.

The event was supported by the Arts Council of Wales ‘Night Out’ scheme.