Tommy Peltier

Singles & EPs

About Tommy Peltier

b. 19 February 1935, USA. Playing cornet, Peltier attracted local attention on the west coast but his audience remained small and his leaning towards the often misunderstood (and at the time frequently maligned) free jazz of Ornette Coleman alienated many critics. It was perhaps through this that when Peltier formed his Jazz Corps in 1962 it was often ignored despite playing regular engagements at The Lighthouse on Hermosa Beach over a period of five years. Indeed, the group is often omitted from otherwise comprehensive accounts of west coast jazz, although this might be explained by the fact that despite his geographic location Peltier’s music was not of that genre. For more than three decades Peltier was rarely mentioned in a jazz context, unless it was in connection with a recording he had made in 1966 with Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The release on CD by Cadence Jazz Records of recordings made at The Lighthouse in the 60s revealed the emotional intensity and inventiveness of Peltier’s playing and the intrinsic virtues of his compositions. Like Peltier himself, the sidemen in the band are uniformly excellent, although like him rarely feature on other records or in books. They are Freddy Rodriguez (saxophone), Lynn Blessing (vibraphone), Bill Plummer (bass), and Maurice Mille (drums). Although the group had planned to go east, in 1968 a hernia ended Peltier’s days as a trumpet player and the Jazz Corps disbanded. In the years following his 60s jazz performances, Peltier was not inactive although his musical leanings changed out of all recognition. In the avant garde pop music of his Plastic Theatre Art Band can be heard references to quaintly folksy 60s pop, classical music, jazz hints, gospel strains and rumbustious latter-day R&B. The band, which has included Louie Spears (bass), Timm Boatman (percussion) and Lynn Fanelli (vocals), has attracted a favourable though localized following. In this band, Peltier plays synthesizer and guitar and also sings a repertoire largely composed by himself and defying pigeon-holing.

February 19, 1935

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