Stan Tracey - Britain's greatest jazz composer - died yesterday. He was, impressively, 86.
It was the American jazz man Eubie Blake who, on the occasion of his 98th birthday, famously said: "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."
Tracey didn't take good care of himself, so his seventy-year career is an achievement in itself. He went through lean times (and even considered chucking in music to train as a postman), but stuck to it and is now being described by obituarists as "the Godfather of British jazz". For those of you who think British jazz is like French rock 'n' roll (pale imitations of the original) here's a short excerpt from Starless and Bible Black - his celebrated 1965 composition based on Dylan Thomas's 1953 radio play.