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Tom Peron & Bud Spangler
Horning In: Tom Peron (left) and Bud Spangler have been musical partners since 1982.

Photo by James Gudeman

Tom Peron and Bud Spangler keep time together even when they're in separate cities

By Andrew Gilbert

KEEPING A JAZZ band together is never an easy proposition, especially when the players live in different cities, so the longevity of the Tom Peron/Bud Spangler quartet is one indication that they hit musical pay dirt when they hooked up back in 1982. Peron, a big-toned trumpeter who combines the lyrical panache of Miles Davis with the elastic brassiness of Kenny Dorham, lives in Sacramento, while Spangler, a sensitive but hard-driving drummer, lives in Oakland. They were introduced by pianist Jessica Williams, who held down the piano chair on the first Peron/Spangler album, Interplay, on the San Francisco-based Monarch label.

"Jessica was living in Sacramento, and she called me and said, 'Find us a gig in the Bay Area. I've got a trumpet player, and you're just gonna fall in love with his playing,' " Spangler recalls. "It turned out to be Tom Peron, who was then in his late teens. We hit it off immediately, both personally and musically, and we've been playing music together ever since." The latest incarnation of the quartet features bassist Scott Steed--whose recent credits include stints with Joe Williams and Horace Silver--and Sacramento-based pianist Joe Gilman (though at the Garden City gig, Gilman will be replaced by up-and-coming pianist Jacob Semetko).

The group's second Monarch album, last year's Dedication, is a soulful mainstream modern-jazz session that mixes standards, such as David Raksin's haunting theme "Laura" and the Matt Dennis chestnut "Angel Eyes," with originals, mostly by Peron. "Tom frequently writes on the trumpet," Spangler explains. "I'll get a call at two in the morning. Tom is in his practice room, and he says 'Listen to this'--and he's just created this melody." The group works out arrangements during rehearsals and performances in a democratic fashion, with everyone throwing in ideas. "I don't think we sound like other bands, even though we're playing music that a lot of other bands play," Spangler says. "We believe in taking a piece of music and treating it as a vehicle for improvisation. We expand things sometimes well beyond the parameters of the original song, but with great respect for the tune and its form and the traditions of jazz."

Tom Peron and Bud Spangler perform Sunday (Sept. 14) at 8:30 and 10pm at Garden City, 360 Saratoga Ave., San Jose. No cover. (408/244-3333)

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From the Sept. 11-17, 1997 issue of Metro.

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