Modern Jazz Disciples

Right Down Front

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Creatively, the Modern Jazz Disciples show no sign of a sophomore slump on their second album, Right Down Front, which was recorded for New Jazz/Prestige in 1960. Here's the bad news: The Disciples' second album turned out to be their last; after Right Down Front, Curtis Peagler's short-lived outfit broke up. But the honeymoon was nice while it lasted. With this LP, the Disciples unveiled one personnel change: Wilbur "Slim" Jackson was on drums instead of Ron McCurdy. But the rest of the lineup was still in place, and that includes leader Curtis Peagler on alto and tenor sax, William Brown on piano, Lee Tucker on bass, and William "Hicky" Kelley on the rare normaphone. This lineup is quite cohesive on "Ros- Al," "Along Came Cheryl," and other extroverted, hard-swinging items; compatibility was never an issue with the members of the Disciples. "My Funny Valentine" shows how appealing a ballad player Peagler could be -- he is downright haunting on this great, if overdone, Rodgers & Hart standard -- and a gutsy performance of Gene Ammons' "The Happy Blues" becomes an inspired celebration of jazz's blues heritage. After being out of print for many years, Right Down Front finally made its long-overdue debut on CD when, in 2001, Fantasy reissued this LP and the Disciples' self-titled debut album back to back on a 76-minute Prestige disc titled Disciples Blues. Because of space limitations, Fantasy omitted "Autumn Serenade," which is among the eight tunes on Right Down Front. And for that reason, hardcore bop collectors will probably want to search for this LP, even if they have the Disciples Blues CD.

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