If you build it, the muse will come. That was the operating principle behind trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s latest album as a leader: He brought his working quintet, the same acoustic postbop band heard on 2017’s Make Noise!, to Paris last fall, intent on recording a two-night stand at the intimate Sunset/Sunside club.
Three of the album’s eight cuts are drawn from Make Noise! On the opening title track, pianist Victor Gould’s rangy, two-fisted improvisation rides atop the roiling rhythmic tension provided by drummer Jonathan Barber, bassist Vicente Archer and percussionist Jacquelene Acevedo, before making way for Pelt’s own urgent, artfully constructed solo. Barber’s dynamic derring-do sets up the sprawling “Evolution,” much of which lets the trumpeter engage in creative back-and-forth with bass and drums. And closer “Château d’Eau” offers an elegant melody attached to lush chord changes.
Pelt wrote two new tunes for the occasion. The laidback “Black Love Stories” opens with just trumpet and piano, leading into gently inquisitive solos from Gould and Pelt. “Melody for V,” written for Archer, has the bassist doubling the pianist on the twisting “call” part of the theme, then opening up for a beefy solo. For good measure, there’s a tune by a French composer—a lovely, slow-floating version of the Michel Legrand ballad “I Will Wait for You.” The let’s-make-a-Paris-record gambit paid off; Noir en Rouge is an impressive document of a band hitting its stride.
Pelt and alto saxophonist Jim Snidero follow the latter’s longtime muse on Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley, released a few months ahead of what would have been the soul-jazz legend’s 90th birthday. The two, leading a group with pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Billy Drummond, inject new life into tunes largely associated with the quintet Cannonball co-led with his cornetist brother, Nat.
Snidero handily gets at his inspiration’s warm, buoyant sound and ability to burrow deeply into the harmonic structure of nearly any place his horn lands. That’s demonstrated during an extended improvisation at the end of Sam Jones’ “Del Sasser,” during which Snidero is accompanied solely by bass and drums. The familiar material sparks plenty of other highlights, including Pelt’s muted solo on Cannonball’s “Wabash,” the mellow unison horn lines and gentle bossa rhythms of Walter Booker’s “Saudade,” Snidero’s lush ministrations on “Stars Fell on Alabama” and Nat’s bluesy, frequently recorded “Work Song.”
The group’s coleaders also turn in original compositions in the same vein, opening the album with Pelt’s jaunty, start-and-stop “Party Time” and including Snidero’s “Ball’s 90th.” Like the music of its honoree, the latter cut blends seemingly disparate parts into a cohesive whole and provides plenty of fertile ground for improvisation.
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