Tommy Peltier

Live at the Lighthouse 1963-1967, Vol. 2

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Live at the Lighthouse 1963-1967, Vol. 2 Review

by Steve Loewy

One of the anomalies of the music business is how outstanding recordings can be ignored for years while mediocre ones receive critical (or at least commercial) acclaim. As with Vol. 1 (Cadence Jazz Records 1138), this CD collects some of the best tracks from 1963 through 1967 recorded by the remarkable group known as Tommy Peltier's Jazz Corps. And, as with its predecessor, this one is filled with outstanding performances, from the compositions to the arrangements to the solos. Those whose conceptions of West Coast jazz are still mired in outdated stereotypes will be surprised at the expressive, expansive quality of the music. Much of it is in the style of Ornette Coleman's early group work (as alluded by the title "Le Blessing") (or is that merely a reference to the vibist?), and, as with the best of Ornette, the melodies stick in the craw well after the music has ended. Peltier and the little-known Freddy Rodriguez are a powerful front line, and Blessing's vibes add a colorful twist. In his notes, Bob Rusch says he had hoped that the release of the first volume would "help spark a further investigation into the West Coast's post-Bop '60s scene and specifically an assessment of the Jazz Corps." This sequel is further evidence of the extraordinary creativity and power of the group.