They weren't a band for long and they didn't record much--this disc contains the two LPs comprising their collected works--but the Modern Jazz Disciples more than capably represented the post-Bird, pre-Ornette zeitgeist at the end of the Eisenhower era. Formed in Cincinnati, the Disciples were signed to Prestige Records' subsidiary New Jazz on the recommendation of tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. The quintet's leading soloists were Curtis Peagler (1930-1992), a Charlie Parker-inspired alto and tenor saxophonist, and William "Hicky" Kelley, who performed on two unusual instruments, the normaphone (a valve trombone shaped like an alto sax) and the French horn-like euphonium. Peagler went on to work with Ray Charles in the 1960s and the Count Basie orchestra through most of the '70s; in the 1980s and '90s, he was featured with Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham's crowd-pleasing Sweet Baby Blues Band and recorded occasionally as a leader. Peagler's work--and the Disciples'--was direct, outgoing, and strongly grounded in the blues.
with William "Hicky" Kelley, William "Billy" Brown, Lee Tucker, Ron McCurdy, Wilbur "Slim" Jackson