Sunday, February 08, 2015

Jeremy Pelt - Tales, Musings and Other Reveries (HighNote, 2015)

Like clockwork, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt releases one album per year of solid mainstream jazz. He has flirted with electronic instruments in the past, but this is an purely acoustic album featuring Simona Premazzi on piano, Ben Allison on bass plus Billy Drummond and Victor Lewis on drums. “Glass Bead Game” by Clifford Jordan was an inspired choice to open this album, with the group playing in a fast and urgent fashion, and spotlighting some excellent percussive piano and drumming which lead the charge. Pelt plays with a raw, pungent sound, cutting through the heavy drumming like a snowplow and developing an empathetic relationship with the drummers along the lines of Miles Davis and Tony Williams. The disc alternates between fast paced performances and ballads like “Vonetta” where lush and light piano notes fall like a gentle shower, laying a path for Pelt’s clear and patient trumpet tone. “Ruminations on Eric Garner” is dedicated to the Staten Island man who was killed by a New York City police officer in 2014, sparking a wave of protests. The full band comes blasting out hard and fast, featuring strong punching trumpet and heavy drumming. The twin drummer setup was an excellent choice, paying dividends throughout. Drummond and Lewis’ drumming is excellent on this album as a whole, but they reach a phenomenal peak here, before the music is drawn down to a majestic and respectful conclusion. Urgent piano and a restrained and polished trumpet sound open “Nephthys” before the drummers stoke the fire once more and the band really starts to burn, making way for a ripe piano solo over propulsive bass and drums. “The Old Soul of the Modern Day Wayfarer” concludes the album by setting up a march like feel with piano and rattling percussion before the drums take flight and the rest of the band follows. Drummond and Lewis are two excellent drummers and while it would have been easy for them to dominate the proceedings, this is really a group effort a a whole, and Pelt’s fine compositions lay the goundwork for a very good album. Tales, Musings and other Reveries -

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