Tommy Peltier’s Jazz Corps

In late 1963, the Jazz Corps was formed with a group free-spirited jazz musicians. We would play and dance away on Tuesday nights at Maurice’s house, “The First Temple of Freedom”. Music was meant to allow us to express ourselves without limitations in time and space. It was a better option than going to a therapist to unload all our emotional baggage (unload it) and much more enjoyable. Plummer and Miller were the engine and backbone that made it so easy to groove and get overturned. Rodriguez, Blessing, and I were one mind. We all seemed to breathe together with one voice. We would often play a few sets at The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach before the mainliners such as Dizzy Gillespie or Cannonball Adderley would appear. They would often be in our audience, adding to the excitement. Nat Adderly mentioned to me that I reminded of Don Cherry, one time during intermission. I explained to him that Cherry was a huge fan of mine and had influenced me greatly. He was also a Cherry lover and loved Ornette Coleman’s musical concept. We would love to sing “The Time Miller”, which is a song that we could stretch out on. This song was written by Maurice, our drummer. He would only use mallets throughout the piece. It was like we were following the spirits into the unknown and creating musical images in unison before coming out on the other side. The song’s theme was always there, no matter how far we went. It reoccurs throughout the solos in different rhythmic and melodic forms. It would be completely different every time we played this song. Howard Rumsey, who recorded us every time we played at The Lighthouse, made these recordings possible. Sometimes we would play long sets, sometimes running out of tape on “Ride Miller Ride”, and sometimes miss the head of songs like “Chalon Pago” as Howard was busy changing tapes. It was all great. from

Leave a Comment