Curtis Peagler was born September 17, 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio and in his childhood his playing on the alto saxophone was influenced by Charlie Parker, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson and Louis Jordan . At the age of 13 he started playing the C-Melody-Saxophone and played alto with the Sons of Rhythm as well as with Territory Bands.
Prior to being drafted into the Army in 1953 Curtis was a member of the backing band of the singer Big Maybelle. After his release from the army in 1955 he studied for two years at the Cincinnati Conservatory and played there with local bands.
In 1959/60 he recorded with Eddie Lockjaw Davis on his first recording for Prestige titled Disciples Blues. Peagler then recorded with Lem Winchester and performed and recorded with his band Modern Jazz Disciples, on the Columbia label. In 1962 he moved to Los Angeles, California where he worked as a freelance musician, and then played in 1966-1967. By 1969 he was accompanying Ray Charles and Big Black.
Between 1971 and 1978 he went on tour with the Count Basie Band and accompanied Ella Fitzgerald . Curtis then settled in Los Angeles and founded the label Sea Pea Records, recording with his own groups and playing on albums for Pablo Records with Harry Sweets Edison and Big Joe Turner. He played with Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham’s Sweet Baby Blues Band in the mid-1980s, playing the Concord label’s swing band on several albums. In 1989, he worked with Jimmy Smith, in 1990 with Freddie Redd, and he recorded in 1999 on Frank Wess ‘s Concord album Entre Nous. Alto and tenor saxophonist Curtis Peagler passed away of heart trouble on December 19, 1992 in Los Angeles, California.
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Michel Sardaby was born on September 4, 1935 in Fort-de-France, Martinique. He moved to Paris, France in 1967, where among other pianists Joe “Stride” Turner, Errol Parker, Claude Bolling, Stuart de Silva, and Aaron Bridgers, accompanied on some tracks by bassist John Lamb. He recorded a 90-minute session known as Tape for Billy, dedicated to Billy Strayhorn, who was in the hospital at the time. Duke Ellington, who was also in Paris, personally supervised the recording.
In 1970, he led a trio comprising Percy Heath and Connie Kay, which appeared on his debut album, Night Cap. A 1972 New York recording has him leading a line-up comprising Richard Davis, Billy Cobham and Ray Barretto for Sound Hills Records.
His 1974 album, Gail, won the 1976 Prix Boris Vian. For his 1989 album, Going Places, he was accompanied by Rufus Reid and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and in 1993, he recorded with his quintet, which comprised Ralph Moore, Louis Smith, Peter Washington and Tony Reedus. Hard bop pianist Michel Sardaby recorded eight albums over the course of his career and plays occasionally at 82 years.
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Walter Davis Jr. was born September 2, 1932 in Richmond, Virginia. As a teenager he performed with Babs Gonzales and in the 1950s he recorded with Melba Liston, recorded and played with Max Roach, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1958 he played with trumpeter Donald Byrd at Le Chat Qui Pêche in Paris and shortly after realized his dream of becoming pianist and composer-arranger for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
He retired from music in the 1960s to work as a tailor, painter, and designer, but returned in the Seventies to perform and record with Sonny Rollins and again with the Jazz Messengers. Walter recorded with Kenny Clarke, Sonny Criss, Walt Dickerson, Teddy Edwards, Slide Hampton, Jackie McLean, Pierre Michelot, Julian Priester, Hank Mobley, Philly Joe Jones, Art Taylor and Archie Shepp.
Known as an interpreter of the music of Bud Powell, he recorded an album capturing the compositional and piano style of Thelonious Monk. Although few of Davis’ recordings as a pianist remain in print, several of his compositions served as titles for albums by Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Combining traditional harmonies with modal patterns and featuring numerous rhythmic shifts along with internal melodic motifs within operatic, aria-like sweeping melodies, Davis’s compositions included Scorpio Rising, Backgammon, Uranus, Gypsy Folk Tales, Jodi and Ronnie Is a Dynamite Lady.
Occasionally he played the role of the piano player on the CBS television comedy Frank’s Place and contributed to the soundtrack of the Clint Eastwood film Bird. Hard bop pianist Walter Davis Jr. passed away in New York City on June 2, 1990 from complications of liver and kidney disease.
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Roland Prince was born on August 27, 1946 in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. He was active player on the world stage in the 1960’s and Seventies and in 1977 he released his debut album Color Vision as a leader along with sidemen Virgil Jones, Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Al Foster, Eddie Moore and Bob Cranshaw.
Followed by two more albums as a leader, he has also recorded as a sideman with Roy Haynes, Billy Mitchell, David Murray, Compost, Elvin Jones, Shirley Scott and Buddy Terry before returning to his home in Antigua & Barbuda.
Once home he remained active on the music scene in Antigua and across the Caribbean playing jazz with the Roland Prince Quartet until his passing on July 15, 2016 aged 69 in Antigua.
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Clifford Jarvis was born on August 26, 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts and studied at Berklee College of Music in the 1950s. Moving to New York City, he established himself in jazz between 1959 and 1966 by recording with Chet Baker, Randy Weston, Yusef Lateef, Freddie Hubbard, Barry Harris, Jackie McLean, and Elmo Hope, and playing with Grant Green and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
From 1962 to 1976 Jarvis performed and recorded with Sun Ra. He also played and recorded with Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Simmons, Alice Coltrane, Kenny Drew, Walter Davis, Archie Shepp and recorded with organist John Patton on the Blue Note album That Certain Feeling in 1968.
By the 1980s Jarvis moved to London, England, where he played with emerging musicians such as Courtney Pine. He worked in music education at Chats Palace Arts Centre in London and was senior drum tutor at Pyramid Arts Development, Dalston, from 1984 to 1994.
Hard bop and free jazz drummer Clifford Jarvis was an educator and performer until his passing on November 26, 1999 in London.
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