British jazz pianist and composer Stan Tracey, 86, died Friday, his son Clark said. He had cancer.

Born in London on Dec. 30, 1926, Mr. Tracey took up piano after a teenage stint as an accordionist entertaining troops during World War II.

After service in the Royal Air Force and time as a musician aboard cruise ships, he performed with ensembles, including the Ted Heath Orchestra, and spent several years in the 1960s as resident pianist at Ronnie Scott's storied London jazz club. That job allowed him to play with the era's jazz greats, including Stan Getz, Ben Webster, and Sonny Rollins, with whom he performed on the soundtrack to the 1966 Michael Caine film, Alfie.

As well as leading his own ensembles, Mr. Tracey had a stint in the big band led by Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

He was nominated for the prestigious Mercury music prize in 1993 for his album Portraits Plus. He released his final album, the World War I-inspired The Flying Pig, this year. - AP