Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt has established himself as one of the go-to musicians on trumpet and flugelhorn in the modern mainstream jazz scene. His yearly albums from the High Note label are postcards of classy hard bop played with great facility and style. On this album he is accompanied by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Danny Grissett on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. They take off at a medium tempo on the opening "Pandora's Box" echoing the classic Blue Note Records sound of the 1960's (not surprising since this album was recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder) taking round-robin solos that are immaculately played. Gerald Cleaver makes his presence felt on a couple of the albums finest tracks. First "Paradise Lost" has his strong drumming urging along a mid-tempo groove, and interacting with the trumpet and saxophone in a very dynamic way. On the album's fast paced finale, "David and Goliath," he again proves his mettle establishing an excellent pocket with Bruno for a strong and lightning fast hard bop improvisation. The band tackles ballad material in a subtle and mannered fashion, as on "In Love Again" where spare piano and subtle muted brass conjure a lonely, romantic vibe. Breathy trumpet that is slow and patient glides through the ballad "All My Thoughts Are of You." This is a solid and well played slice of modern hard bop, which mainstream jazz fans will find quite accessible and entertaining. The band plays with panache and a thoughtful energy that makes for a successful recording. Talented Mr. Pelt - amazon.com
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