Veteran hard-bop trumpeter Jeremy Pelt retains his exploratory streak | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Veteran hard-bop trumpeter Jeremy Pelt retains his exploratory streak 

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click to enlarge Jeremy Pelt Quintet

Jeremy Pelt Quintet

Ra-Re Valverde

Few mainstream trumpeters over the last decade have matched the muscle, dexterity, and soul of Jeremy Pelt, who has morphed from a rising star into a trusted presence. Though he’s a dyed-in-the-wool postbop technician heavily influenced by protean but thoughtful blowers like Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, he’s been known to make subtle but meaningful adjustments in his practice, changing the personnel and focus of his bands to explore groove-based electric settings or plush, acoustic contexts. His recent album Noir en Rouge: Live in Paris (HighNote) suggests he’s found a sweet spot with his current quintet, which made an impressive debut on last year’s Make Noise! (The group appears with him for this week’s engagement, though Allan Mednard will sub for regular drummer Jonathan Barber.) According to Michael West’s liner-note essay, the new album was planned to extend the rich history of live jazz recordings cut in Paris, and the results prove the band played with a heat that matched the sweltering temperatures blanketing the City of Light that weekend. Most of the tunes are Pelt originals, save “Sir Carter,” a brisk swinger by the group’s pianist, Victor Gould, and a tender reading of “I Will Wait for You,” a Michel Legrand theme used in Jacques Demy’s classic film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. On the muscular “Evolution” the outfit’s elastic rhythm section, which also includes bassist Vicente Archer and conguera Jacquelene Acevedo, produces a powerfully springy foundation, filled with eddies and swells with surprising accents, that allows Pelt’s high-octane improvisation to sparkle and accrue energy. Then the band suddenly shifts gears a la the classic Miles Davis Quintet to recede for an introspective solo from Gould. Though this quintet isn’t interested in a revolution, its meticulously measured heat could certainly cause one in the right setting.   v

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