Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Jeremy Pelt - Soundtrack (HighNote Records, 2022)

There are very few things that can be counted upon like clockwork in this recent millennium, but one of the things jazz fans have to look forward to is a new album from trumpeter Jeremy Pelt at least once per year. This year is no different with Pelt accompanied by Chien Chien Lu on vibraphone, Victor Gould on piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano, Vicente Archer on acoustic and electric bass, Allan Mednard on drums. Anne Drummond guests on flute for a few tracks as does Brittany Anjou on Mellotron and Moog synthesizer. The album opens with "Picking Up The Pieces" which has a classic mid 60’s acoustic jazz influence, building a nice mid tempo groove with a surprising shift from acoustic to electric accents via atmospheric electric piano and shimmering vibes. "Soundtrack" has a medium tempo theme for the full band, leading to a crisp and bright vibes featured with rhythm support. Pelt adds confident trumpet which moves forward, developing a fine and incrementally stronger solo. There is a svelte piano, bass and drums section, leading back to a lyrical conclusion. The band builds pace and volume with the theme "Be The Light," which then opens for individual expression, beginning with the leader’s propulsive horn playing over supple rhythm, followed by crystalline vibraphone notes which rain down. Ripe sounding piano is featured over motoring bass and drums, easing back to a trumpet led finale. "Part 1: The Lighter Side" and "Part2: The Darker Side" add Drummond's flute, sounding airy, and full of space, as quiet ballad tones abound. Flute and electric piano mesh well with similar sounds, then beautiful watery sounding trumpet wells up framed by piano and lush cymbals. Hushed drums and vibes create a quiet edge on "Elegy," where large piano chords gently fall and Pelt forms a beautiful ballad trumpet tone. There is subtle and supple ballad playing all around on this track. "I'm Still Standing" uses medium up-tempo drums pushing the tempo which seems to suspend in space at times, creating interesting dynamic tension. Fine solos from trumpet and vibes are present, while the drummer keeps edging forward with a complex fast pace. The open toned ballad "I Love Music" features soft brushes and lush trumpet framed by piano chords. Slowly developing piano with grounding bass and swirling brushed percussion support the trumpet ably. "Shifting Images" develops an electric groove through bass and drums, with Pelt's trumpet gliding overhead riding the updraft, building a punchy and enveloping statement of purpose. Lightly played yet slashing drums and deft vibes weave their unique sound through the thicket of music before Pelt herds everyone back together for the finish. A gentle and repetitive figure on "You And Me" allows Pelt plenty of room to build an emotional trumpet feature that soon involves the rest of the band. Fender Rhodes gives the setting a pastel hue in tandem with the trumpet before gradually fading out. This was a very solid and well constructed modern mainstream jazz album. The band works very well together in both ensemble and solo settings, and Pelt skillfully demonstrates his talent as an instrumentalist and composer. Soundtrack -

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