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Jeremy Pelt: #Jiveculture

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Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s approach 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) and the impressive focus of the soloists-especially, in this case, Grissett, who deepens his linear conceptions with richly bended harmonies and sonic textures. 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.

Although there’s no major thematic difference between “Part I” and “Part II” of this CD, the second section tends toward the more exploratory. “Rhapsody,” taken at a ballad tempo yet playful in its seeming refusal to hew to any predictable rhythmic or melodic pattern, is probably the most “free”-sounding offering here; the improvisations, paradoxically, solidify a sense of structure and logic atop the deceptively shapeless contours of the actual line. On “Desire,” the set’s closer, Grissett skitters and leapfrogs among intervals and octaves, creating openings and then filling them with dancing sparks, as Drummond lays down merry chuckles and gruff guffaws behind him. Carter maintains the rhythm while providing subtle elaborations as Pelt scurries above, all exemplifying the “Jive” of the title: playful signifying delivered with wit and purpose.

Originally Published