For all its trumpet flourishes and roiling percussion, its mounting tensions and spirited interplay, Make Noise! isn’t always a brashly exuberant affair. In fact, quite the opposite is true when trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, a 20-year recording veteran well versed in blues tropes and romantic lyricism, opts for dramatic changes in tone and dynamics.
Conceived as a showcase for his seasoned bandmates, the album opens with a brief polyrhythmic prologue from percussionist Jacquelene Acevedo. It’s a telling choice, as Acevedo plays a prominent role throughout, often in tandem with drummer Jonathan Barber, who subsequently (and vibrantly) paves the way for Pelt’s rhythmically skittish “Evolution.” Similarly, pianist Victor Gould and bassist Vicente Archer are afforded plenty of space. Gould’s gift for overlaying thick chords with bright chromaticism, coupled with Archer’s resonant tone and quick-fingered phrasing, accounts for many of the album’s rewards. By contrast, Gould and Archer are also responsible for deftly enhancing Pelt’s soulful turn on “Your First Touch…”
The trumpeter didn’t leave much to chance for this session. He brought a lot of worthy tunes to the table, beginning with the album’s title track. A short riff with a responsive tagline, it’s the kind of congenial blues that somehow never wears out its welcome, at least when handled with flair. What follows, most of it penned by Pelt, often invites repeat listens. Among the highlights: “Cry Freedom,” insinuating and impassioned by turns; the spritely, brass-muted musing “Chateau d’Eau”; and, last but not least, the album’s jubilantly evocative coda, “Bodega Social.”