Gary Peacock: West Coast (1959-62)

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Bassist Gary Peacock, who died in September of 2020, was probably best known for Trio '64, his sole album in 1963 with Bill Evans, as well as his work with Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Marc Copland and Keith Jarrett. But before Trio '64, Peacock spent several years in Los Angeles working as a sideman. On the West Coast, Peacock emerged as part of a school of conversationalist bassists who didn't just keep time but were expected to engage with a point of view.

Now, Fresh Sound has released a wise sampler of Peacock's recordings during this period. The album, The Beginnings: Gary Peacock, West Coast Years (1959-1962), features the bassist with the Carmell Jones Quartet, the Bud Shank Quartet, the Clare Fischer Trio, the Carmell Jones Quintet, the Jimmy Woods Quartet, the Don Ellis Quartet and the Bud Shank Quintet.

All of the tracks have an avant-garde edge, with Peacock driving firmly on top. During this period, Peacock became a rhythmic player with unusual bass patterns and improvised statements, at times provoking and other times supporting. All of these tracks belong to eight terrific albums, which makes this new compilation a smart starting point for experiencing Peacock's roots and playing intellect. Much of the music is ahead of its time, refusing to fit into the era's pop and songbook approach and carving out new territory for small-group jazz. On each track selected by Fresh Sound's Jordi Pujol, Peacock is playing powerfully and distinctly.

You need to hear this album to understand Peacock's approach on future leadership albums and sideman sessions. The tracks are all terrific choices.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find Fresh Sound's The Beginnings: Gary Peacock, West Coast Years (1959-1962) with 24-bit remastereing here.

You'll also find Peacock with the Forrest Westbrook Quintet during this period. Read my review here. And with Carmell Jones here.

JazzWax clip: Here's Not Yet, with Jimmy Woods (as), Dick Whittington (p), Gary Peacock (b) and Milt Turner (d)...



And here's I Love You, the album's sole standard, by the Clare Fischer Trio—with Fisher on piano, Peacock on bass and Gene Stone on drums. Fascinating what they do with it...



Bonus: Here's Shorty Rogers (fh), Gary Lefebvre (woodwinds), Lou Levy (p), Gary Peacock (b) and Larry Bunker (d) on Jazz Scene USA hosted by Oscar Brown Jr. in 1962 (special thanks to Bill Kirchner)...



And here's Joe Pass (g), unidentified piano, Gary Peacock (b) and an unidentified drummer playing Sonnymoon for Two hosted by disc-jockey Frank Evans...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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