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Live At The Lighthouse 1963-67 by Tommy Peltier's Jazz Corps

With a "hip" name like "Jazz Corps" it’s not exactly hard to fathom why this fine band rose to the heights of obscurity. Or maybe it was the fact they were West Coast-based as opposed to East Coast - you know, that whole east/west/etc. schism that mattered to some in the 50s and 60s. Whatever: the folks at Cadence have unearthed some material by them (all tunes composed by Tommy Peltier), so maybe some historical revision will occur, or some folks can dig some swell jazz. The years covered in this set were tumultuous ones for music and the world - it’s hard to imagine the Jazz Corps couldn’t fine a place in it, as their sound was an apt reflection. The style is basically hard-bop with a notable influence of/inspiration from the free/avant thing of the time. (Back then, you practically had to be one or the other - the "New Thing" was regarded as Blasphemy by the mainstreamers.) Peltier and Freddy Rodriguez are grounded in Bird ‘n’ Diz, Kenny Dorham, et. al. but the influence of then-radical vocalized, unfettered-by-bebop-cliché sounds of Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman is strong (though not overwhelming). Rodriguez’s sound especially is tart, astringent, unsentimental yet driven. The playing by Plummer and Miller is somewhat more "conventional" (recalling the rhythm teams of the Gerry Mulligan Quartets of the 50s, but with more vim) yet compellingly propulsive throughout. Not to imply there’s nothing pretty here - "Serenity" with its crisp, yearning voicings for flute and vibes will inspire primo California Dreamin’ of beaches and lighthouses (appropriate, as this was recorded at the legendary Hermosa Beach jazz club The Lighthouse). No earth-shattering revelations here, just a well-recorded document of a solid, swinging and adventurous jazz band that didn’t get its props back-when. Aficionados of 1960s jazz should put this ‘un on their list of Things To Hear.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tommy Peltier's Jazz Corps
  • CD Title: Live At The Lighthouse 1963-67
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Cadence Jazz Records
  • Musicians: T. Peltier: cornet; Freddy Rodriguez: alto & tenor sax, flute; Lynn Blessing: vibes; Bill Plummer: bass; Maurice Miller: drums.
  • Rating: Three Stars
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