Curtis Peagler & the Modern Jazz Disciples: Disciples Blues
Hailing from Cincinnati, the Disciples, under the erstwhile leadership of Peagler cut a pair of platters for the New Jazz subsidiary of Prestige. Their music centers in the bop-inflected style popular during the early 1960s, but with the rhythm section taking a more active role in close confluence with the frontline horns. William Kelley’s normaphone (a valve trombone in the guise of an alto saxophone) gives the band an air of eccentricity on paper, but his playing follows the hard bop path of his partners. He also hoists the ungainly, but soothing toned euphonium for one number, the Charlie Parker-penned “Perhaps.” Bird’s influence is actually all over Peagler’s phrasing and tone, but the young saxophonist does much more than simply ape his idol, evidencing an advanced harmonic sense along with a blues imbued soulfulness. The band’s choice to adopt the Gene Ammons blowing staple “The Happy Blues” showcases another exponent of their collective sound, one of easygoing swing. Brown is the third point in the triangle of principal solosists and his agile touch on the ivories keeps the blues focus of the group from ever sounding gloomy, even on somber tracks like “My Funny Valentine.”
Each of the pieces on either date has its charms and it’s a true shame the Disciples weren’t able to garner further dates on the strengths of these first two. According to the liners Peagler went on to work as a sideman for Ray Charles and Count Basie. The fates of his band mates aren’t disclosed. Listening to this disc and others like it in the Fantasy catalog always conjures the same tantalizing question in my mind. What other albums from long abandoned ensembles lie in wait for reissue and when will they once again see the light of day?
Prestige on the web: http://www.fantasyjazz.com
Track Listing: You
Personnel: Curtis Peagler- alto & tenor saxophones; William
Record Label: Prestige Records