Jeremy Pelt Quintet | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Jeremy Pelt Quintet 

When: Thu., June 14, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., June 15, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., June 16, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., June 17, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2012
Price: $20
Last September the Jeremy Pelt Quintet, one of the strongest, most deeply interconnected working bands in jazz, played a four-night stand at the Jazz Showcase to finesse some new material. Four days later the group was in a recording studio in New York, committing those tunes to tape, and earlier this year they were released into the wild on the band's fourth album, Soul (HighNote). According to the liner notes, Pelt and company nailed nearly all of the eight tracks on first takes, and even though most are ballads it's still easy to tell the group was firing on all cylinders, with an astonishing level of intuition between trumpeter Pelt, tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Gerald Cleaver. The group's highly attuned interaction reminds me of the Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter, though none of these musicians sound much like their counterparts in that classic lineup—the way Pelt and Allen play off each other, creating gorgeous harmonies that float with weightless grace over the coolly percolating, patient grooves, is much like the trademark rapport of the Davis band (and it's very hard to pull off). The heat rises here and there—Cleaver summons the surging, explosive spirit of Tony Williams on "The Tempest," and on "What's Wrong Is Right" Pelt solos for four thrilling minutes, propelled only by Burno and Cleaver—but even the quintet's most tender moments are just as intense. —Peter Margasak

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