42 Trumpet Master Jeremy Pelt – Hard Bop and More

Jeremy Pelt

Emerging as a recording artist in 2002, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s warm tone and thoughtful improvisation initially brought hard bop legends Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard to mind. After two decades, his mature post-bop work evidences a willingness to experiment with sound and ensemble make-up. Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet and his electric period both emerge as influences from time-to-time interspersed with straight ahead acoustic dates. You can count on Jeremy Pelt for inventive improvisation, impeccable tone, nuanced performance and a deep sense of the history of the music. Most recently he has published a book of his interviews with jazz luminaries accompanied by a disc of compositions based on this accumulated wisdom. Trumpet Master Jeremy Pelt in this hour of Jazz at 100 Today!

Much of Pelt’s 2010 release The Talented Mr. Pelt sounds as if it could have been recorded for Blue Note in the sixties and the recording was, in fact, engineered by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, creator of that acoustic universe. With J.D. Allen in the front line on tenor saxophone, Danny Grissett on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums, this disc was one of a sequence of Pelt’s High Note releases that channeled the energy and virtuosity of that heady hard bop period.

For his 2014 release Face Forward, Jeremy, Pelt assembled an electric ensemble with more than passing reference to classic late 60’s Miles Davis and Chick Corea sounds. This was the second of Pelt’s discs to feature tenor and soprano player Roxy Coss who was with him from 2012 – 2014, starting soon after her arrival in New York. Pelt’s composition Princess Charlie, written for his daughter, includes sweet soprano work by Coss, a “dancing” solo by Pelt and wordless vocals by Brazilian singer Fabiana Masili

Pelt’s next release, 2015’s Tales, Musings and Other Reveries takes another step in Miles’s direction. As David Whiteis writes in JazzTimes, “The Miles Davis influence is immediately evident in Jeremy Pelt’s timbre, phrasing, linear structures – even his tonguing technique… What sets him apart, however, is the context he creates – especially, in this case, the rhythmic context: two drummers, Billy Drummond and Victor Lewis, intertwine so unerringly that they sound like “one drummer with a split personality” (as Pelt puts it in his liner notes) … Pelt’s Harlem Thoroughfare teems with life; both its stop-start structure and Pelt’s twisty, skittering solo evoke New York traffic as well as the gait of an awestruck pedestrian stopping repeatedly to take in the vitality and wonder all around him.”

Pandora’s Box. Jeremy Pelt Quintet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp/flh, JD Allen-ts, Danny Grissett-p, Dwayne Burno-b, Gerald Cleaver-d). From The Talented Mr. Pelt. High Note. 2010.
Princess Charlie. Jeremy Pelt Sextet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Roxy Coss-ss/ts/bcl, David Bryant-p/org/key, Chris Smith-b, Dana Hawkins-d, Fabiana Masili-voc). From Face Forward, Jeremy. High Note. 2014.
Harlem Thoroughfare. Jeremy Pelt Quintet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Simona Premazzi-p, Ben Allison-b, Billy Drummond-d, Victor Lewis-d). From Tales, Musings and Other Reveries. High Note. 2015.

Jeremy Pelt’s 2016 release #Jiveculture, according to David Whiteis again, “… remains solidly postbop in feel and execution, with strong echoes of Miles Davis’ mid- to late-’60s work – lent authority here by the presence of Davis alum Ron Carter on bass … The opener, a Pelt original entitled Baswald’s Place, sets the tone. It’s propulsive yet leavened with meditative tranquility, braced by the charged swing of the rhythm section (pianist Danny Grissett and drummer Billy Drummond, along with Carter) … Pelt, meanwhile, attains a mellifluous, voice-like croon that’s neither sentimental nor ironically detached but straightforward in its emotional resonance. His ideas sound fresh and original, even if his milky, vibrato-free tone and judicious use of silence make clear his ongoing debt to Miles.”

For 2017’s Make Noise!, Pelt expands the quartet format with percussionist Jacquelene Acevedo joining pianist Victor Gold, bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Jonathan Barber. This disc mines a similar acoustic vein to its predecessor #Jiveculture with the addition of Afro-Latin colors.

Baswald’s Place. Jeremy Pelt Quartet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Danny Grissett-p, Ron Carter-b, Billy Drummond-d). From #Jiveculture. High Note. 2016.
Bodega Social. Jeremy Pelt Quintet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Victor Gold-p, Vicente Archer-b, Jonathan Barber-d, Jacquelene Acevedo-per). From Make Noise! High Note. 2017.

Jeremy Pelt’s 2019 effort Jeremy Pelt the Artist features an expanded septet lineup that adds Chien Chien Lu on marimba, Allan Mednard on drums, and Ismel Wignall on percussion to stalwarts Victor Gold on piano and Vicente Archer on bass. The rhythm section finds a deep swinging pocket on Pelt’s lovely ballad As of Now.

A valued sideman, Jeremy Pelt joined alto saxophonist Jim Snidero in his 2019 disc Waves of Calm, with Orrin Evans on piano, Nat Reeves on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums. Snidero’s set, informed by his father’s battle against Parkinson’s, brings out the tender side of the trumpeter on pieces like Dad Song.

Pelt’s most recent release, Griot – This Is Important! accompanies his book of interviews with jazz mentors. Back in the company of Chien Chien Lu on vibes, Victor Gold on piano, Vicente Archer on bass and Allan Mednard on drums, Pelt alternates spoken word passages with his musical responses. In The Guardian, Jim Fordham wrote, “Octogenarian bassist Paul West tells Pelt that, as a young man seeking guidance from his father, he was advised to “carry Christ wherever you are”. That devout phrase prompts a stately Pelt ballad that soon sheds solemnity as it shifts gears to genre-crossing swing… But the trumpeter’s storytelling powers as a soloist are at their fullest stretch on A Beautiful (f*cking) Lie – a deceptively breezy tune that gathers force, named after singer-songwriter René Marie’s acerbic quote about being taught American patriotism as an African American child raised under the south’s Jim Crow laws.”

As Of Now. Jeremy Pelt Septet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Victor Gould-p, Chien Chien Lu-mar, Alex Wintz-g, Vicente Archer-b, Allan Mednard-d, Ismel Wignall-per). From Jeremy Pelt The Artist. High Note. 2019.
Dad Song. Jim Snidero Quintet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Jim Snidero-as, Orrin Evans-p, Nat Reeves-b, Jonathan Barber-d). From Waves of Calm. Savant. 2019.
Carry Christ Wherever You Are. Jeremy Pelt Quintet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Chien Chien Lu-vib, Victor Gould-p, Vicente Archer-b, Allan Mednard-d). From Griot: THIS IS IMPORTANT!. High Note. 2021.
A Beautiful (f*cking) Lie. Jeremy Pelt Quintet
(Jeremy Pelt-tp, Chien Chien Lu-vib, Victor Gould-p, Vicente Archer-b, Allan Mednard-d). From Griot: THIS IS IMPORTANT! High Note. 2021.

Jeremy Pelt plays from a place deep with a knowledge and respect for jazz history. His shifting sound is increasingly personal and nuanced.

Niland, Tim. (2011, February 3). Music and More. Jeremy Pelt – The Talented Mr. Pelt (High Note, 2011). https://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/2011/02/jeremy-pelt-talented-mr-pelt-high-note.html

Sachs, Lloyd. (2014, March 27). JazzTimes. Jeremy Pelt: Face Forward, Jeremy. https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jeremy-pelt-face-forward-jeremy/

Whiteis, David. (2015, March 21). JazzTimes. Jeremy Pelt: Tales, Musings and Other Reveries. https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jeremy-pelt-tales-musings-and-other-reveries/

Whiteis, David. (2016, June 1). JazzTimes. Jeremy Pelt: #Jiveculture. https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jeremy-pelt-jiveculture/

Joyce, Mike. (2017, May 14). JazzTimes. Jeremy Pelt: Make Noise! (HighNote). https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jeremy-pelt-make-noise-highnote/

Freitas, Filipe. (2019, March 20). JazzTrail. Jeremy Pelt – Jeremy Pelt the Artist. https://jazztrail.net/blog/jeremy-pelt-the-artist-album-review

Tamarkin, Jeff. (2019, March 13). JazzTime. Jim Snidero: Waves of Calm (Savant). https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/jim-snidero-waves-of-calm-savant/

Fordham, Jim. (2021, February 26). The Guardian. Jeremy Pelt: Griot – This Is Important! review – a jazz album for everyone. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/feb/26/jeremy-pelt-griot-this-is-important-review-high-note

For other programs in Jazz at 100 Today! visit: Jazz at 100 Today!

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