Peck Kelley

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For a brief while before the end of the LP era, it was possible for there to be a Peck Kelley section in the jazz section of some record stores. Considering that Kelley avoided leaving Houston throughout…
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For a brief while before the end of the LP era, it was possible for there to be a Peck Kelley section in the jazz section of some record stores. Considering that Kelley avoided leaving Houston throughout his life and went out of his way not to be recorded, it is miraculous that any documentation exists. In the 1920s, Kelley led Peck's Bad Boys in Texas, which featured a young Jack Teagarden and Pee Wee Russell. A talented pianist considered advanced at the time, Kelley was supposed to join Russell, Bix Beiderbecke, and Frankie Trumbauer at a gig in St. Louis, but union problems prevented that and Kelley used the excuse to stay home. He was constantly offered jobs up North by major bandleaders and celebrities (including Bing Crosby), but turned them all down. In 1983 (a couple years after his death), a double-LP was released by Commodore featuring Kelley in 1957 near the end of his career, playing with a sextet. Shortly after, the collector's label Arcadia came out with privately recorded solo and duet performances from 1951 and 1953. On a whole, these rough but very interesting recordings prove that Kelley was advancing with the times, holding onto his roots in stride while showing that he was quite familiar with Lennie Tristano.