Autumn Jazz at Smithfield
Thursday November 24
A Children’s Christmas in Wales
& Under Milk Wood
– Clark Tracey Quintet
Piano Smithfield, Long Lane, Barbican, London
Two remarkable works by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, inspired the legendary jazz pianist Stan Tracey, to compose musical suites evoking the characters; their moods and personalities.
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and “Under Milk Wood” are classic recordings. Performances, combining Thomas’ words and Tracey’s music, became much admired and enjoyed events.
JBGB Events bring together Stan’s son, jazz drummer Clark Tracey, and his son, the actor Ben Tracey to re-create the magic of the original performances, but in their own unique 21st century style.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales is a piece of prose by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas recorded by Thomas in 1952. The work is an anecdotal reminiscence of a Christmas from the viewpoint of a young boy, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time. It is one of Thomas’s most popular works.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales uses descriptive passages in a fictionalised autobiographical style, designed to create an emotive sense of the nostalgia Thomas is intending to evoke, remembering a Christmas from the viewpoint of the author as a young boy.
“It was always snowing at Christmas”—furthering his idyllic memory of childhood by describing the snow as being better and more exciting than the snow experienced as an adult. The dissertation, with exaggerated characters for comedic effect, show how childhood memories are enlarged through youthful interpretation.
Under Milk Wood is a 1954 radio drama, commissioned by the BBC and later adapted for film and the stage.
An omniscient narrator invites the audience to listen to the dreams and innermost thoughts of the inhabitants of the fictional small Welsh fishing village, Llareggub.
They include Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, relentlessly nagging her two dead husbands; Captain Cat, reliving his seafaring times; the two Mrs. Dai Breads; Organ Morgan, obsessed with his music; and Polly Garter, pining for her dead lover. Later, the town awakens and, aware now of how their feelings affect whatever they do, we watch them go about their daily business.
The Stan Tracey Jazz Suite “Under Milk Wood” has often been cited as one of the best jazz recordings made in the United Kingdom.
Chris Parker wrote: “Tracey’s startlingly percussive, eccentric piano style and his close rapport with his musicians bring Monk and Rouse to mind, but the cogent pungency of the compositions is all his own”
“John Fordham in his “50 greatest moments in jazz piece” wrote of the album: “Under Milk Wood” is an evocative collection of sparky themes:
‘Starless and Bible Black’ is widely acclaimed as one of the great jazz performances”
Tickets £20 plus £1.50 booking fee
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