A small but distinguished coterie of Philadelphia jazz artists were drawn into the orbit of the later French expatriate pianist and composer Bernard Peier in the 1960s and 1970s. They included the two musicians on this recording. Al Stauer performed with Peier on a regular basis throughout this period, and Tom Lawton studied with the great but underappreciated jazzmaster until his death in 1976. Indeed, those who followed Peier’s incommensurately chronicled transit throughout the jazz rmament can hear glinting echoes of his playing in Lawton’s brilliant keyboard style: Lawton lles his pianologue with heady runs, craggy congurations and bluesy intimations of melancholy that are strongly reminiscent of the man from Epinal.
Peier was a charming man who experienced some diculty in communicating via the English language, albeit no problem at all when the keyboard was his conduit. The one composition by which he is represented on this recording, Tired Blues, bears that title because of a semantic misunderstanding: Peier told a commentator some years after he had written it that the meaning he’d really had in mind was “relaxed”. Stauer was one of the Philadelphia area’s most esteemed jazz bassists. Largely self-taught on the instrument, at the time of this recording he had been a professional musician for more than three decades. Over the years he accompanied such prime jazzmen as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans and Sam Most, and his association with Peier lasted a dozen years. He lived in Sewell, New Jersey, and taught privately in Philadelphia and at Glassboro (New Jersey) State College, now renamed Rowan University. His duets with himself— singing the notes while he plucks them on the bass—are a trademark of some singularity.