Jeremy Pelt - Jeremy Pelt The Artist

Label: HighNote Records, 2019

Personnel – Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Victor Gould: piano; Frank LoCrasto: Fender Rhodes, effects; Chien Chien Lu: vibraphone, marimba; Vicente Archer: bass; Allan Mednard: drums; Ismel Wignall: percussion.

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Jeremy Pelt is a terrific trumpet player and bandleader whose records offer enough consistency to make us search for new material. He is also an extremely reliable sideman with important contributions in projects by Vincent Herring, Ralph Peterson Jr., Wayne Escoffery, and more recently, bassist Ben Allison.

His new outing, Jeremy Pelt The Artist, finds him fronting a dynamic group with Victor Gould on piano, Frank LoCrasto on Fender Rhodes and effects, Chien Chien Lu on vibraphone and marimba, Vicente Archer on bass, Allan Mednard on drums, and Ismel Wignall on percussion.

The album’s first five tracks constitute The Rodin Suite, a compositional effort inspired by the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Like the sculptor himself, Pelt doesn’t rebel against the past, but arrange everything in a clever way, introducing new elements that shape the music with a winsome modern feel. On “Pt 1: L’Appel Aux Armes”, Wintz’s scorching guitar licks emerge from the cumulative instrumental layers initiated by Gould’s piano. The rhythm mutates graciously, becoming a fine receptacle for a warm dialogue established between vibraphone and piano. Pelt’s buoyant trumpet, then becomes the center of attention when his wonderfully chosen notes populate the colorful harmonic tapestry.

Pt 2: Dignity and Despair” works like a languid transition to “Pt 3: I Sol Tace” where streams of percussion join trumpet lines affected by wah-wah and delay. Archer orders his contrabass to walk leisurely. Later on, he is doubled by Lu’s vibraphone and forms a smoothly groovy alliance with Mednard while psychedelic acid jazz shouts echo in the air.

Whereas “Pt 4: Camille Claudel” is a volatile ballad featuring the melodic conductions of Wintz and Pelt, the softly “Pt 5: Epilogue” is launched by solo bass and complemented with an initial primal thud (later extended to cymbal legato), muted trumpet, and the electric charm of LoCrasto’s Rhodes.

The rhythmic flux on “Ceramic” is suggestive of electronica, yet its essence is mainly post-bop like on “Feito”, which categorically swings with Pelt showing off lucid phrases that resonate with the style of Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis. He is followed by Lu and Gould, whose conviction doesn’t consent to energy interruptions.

You will find the rhythm section swinging in the pocket again on “As of Now”, which closes out the album full of supercharged jazz harmonies, right after the 3/4 musical sunshine that is “Watercolors”.

This is deftly composed material put in practice with taste by a sophisticated new group that works pretty well together.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 - The Rodin Suite Pt. 1 ► 03 - The Rodin Suite Pt. 3 ► 06 - Ceramic