214

Curtis Peagler & the Modern Jazz Disciples: Disciples Blues

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Discs like this one are among the most fascinating and enjoyable in the voluminous Fantasy jazz oeuvre; artifacts from forgotten groups who were left by the wayside of popular notice, not because of any absence of talent or creativity, but simply because they surfaced during a time when jazz was rife with staggering amounts of both. In an era when more modern jazz giants walked the earth and were actively recording than at any other time it must have a sobering prospect for fledgling groups like this one to find an audience. Last year’s reissue of New Jazz Frontiers From Washington (Riverside) by the JFK Quintet, a D.C.-based collective discovered by Cannonball Adderly that met a fate similar to that of the Modern Jazz Disciples, is another example of this historical phenomenon. If not for the astute ears and assiduous advocacy of established players like Adderly (and in the case of the Disciples, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis), these groups almost certainly wouldn’t have even been given the chance to record. Fortunately for 21st century jazz fans they were.

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 | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Clarinet (& Piano)" CD/LP/Track Review Clarinet (& Piano)
by John Eyles
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "I'll Be Seeing You" CD/LP/Track Review I'll Be Seeing You
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Between Brothers" CD/LP/Track Review Between Brothers
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Potsdamer Platz" CD/LP/Track Review Potsdamer Platz
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: February 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!