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Jeremy Pelt: Shock Value: Live at Smoke [Digipak]

Track List


Album Remarks & Appraisals:

"Born to play the blues and raised on jazz's most recent personality changes, Jeremy Pelt brings fire and passion to his audience while tempering each stroke with the improvisational tools that have grown out of tradition. The trumpeter's wah-wah comments, his low moan caresses and his dizzying romps through bebop heaven gather up a hundred years of jazz into one big picnic basket filled with seasonal delights. This appearance at New York City's Smoke features six of the leader's original compositions and one by bassist Derek Nievergelt.

The band is wired, literally and figuratively; Pelt uses occasional electronic effects with his trumpet in order to broaden his instrument's range of emotions, and the rest of the band takes advantage of the kind of 20th Century electronic technology that has been with us for several generations in order to get "plugged in and dangerous. Like familiar voices from the family around us, these instrumental textures make everyone in the house feel right at home.

Pelt, who will turn thirty-one in November, was born and raised in Los Angeles, went to school in Boston and settled in New York. His BA in Music from Berklee College of Music prepared him well and left him with a network of collaborations, which seems absolutely essential in this day and age of competitive business relationships. It's not his background that stands out when he takes the stage, however. It's simply what comes from deep inside him.

The trumpeter is at his best with a riveting ballad, such as "Cause, or a sensual blues, such as "Blues, where he leads his band in a storm of emotions. Several selections utilize organ combo textures with a hefty groove, while others recall the electric periods of Miles Davis. Pelt's trumpet creates a delightful session that shouldn't be missed." -AllAboutJazz

"Imagine a sacred Shinto sand garden beautifully divided up into all of the genres of jazz, rock, and blues. Interconnections between the genres and subgenres are carefully documented, after having been fully researched and verified. Now visualize trumpeter Jeremy Pelt dragging his horn through this garden, marginally alongside a similar set of tracks left by Miles Davis thirty-five years ago. This provides a visual image of Jeremy Pelt and his band WiRED at their March 21-22, 2007 appearance at New York City's Smoke.

Pelt is one of the few trumpeters exploring Miles' post-In A Silent Way(Columbia, 1969) period, as opposed to the majority of leaders who have been content to mine the master's second great quartet period. In fact, Pelt and his band sound very much like Miles' transitional combo heard on Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time (Legacy, 2001), that featured Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, except Pelt is way better behaved and more enjoyable to listen to.

The disc is comprised of Pelt originals, with one exception, all very different, all very compelling listening. The highlights are a lengthy blues where Pelt has no fear of playing his horn through a compression-wah pedal. Pelt's solos, along with guitarist Al Street, make this blues less about jazz and more about blues. It is a nice throw-back touch in a more forward-looking program of music.

Pelt follows the blues with the hypnotic "Suspicion, where the band solos over a very simple harmonic figure repeated over and over, recalling Miles lengthy electric funk excursions. Pelt shares composing duties with vocalist Becca Stevens, who provides lyrics to Pelt's "Cause. The musical effect is narcotic and the sound, performance and approach fresh. The ballad "Beyond, by Derek Nievergelt, shows Pelt more than capable of the straight-ahead. In all, a superb disc by a young artist." -AllAboutJazz

Album Notes

Jeremy Pelt: Jeremy Pelt; Gavin Fallow (bass guitar); Dana Hawkins (drums); Becca Stevens, Al Street , Frank LoCrasto.

Personnel: Jeremy Pelt (trumpet, flugelhorn); Becca Stevens (vocals); Al Street (guitar); Frank LoCrasto (Fender Rhodes piano).

Audio Mixer: Paul Statche.

Recording information: Smoke, New York, NY (03/21/2007/03/22/2007).

Author: Jeremy Pelt.

Photographer: Jimmy Ryan .

Arranger: Jeremy Pelt.

Some of the material heard on Shock Value had been in the Jeremy Pelt live catalog years before it were released on this album, while two of the songs ("Scorpio" and "Suspicion") were performed on his previous album, Identity. The former album was Pelt's first studio foray into electric jazz, having stayed straight acoustic on his first three albums. Shock Value, performed with his latest band, Wired, dives deeper into today's version of jazz fusion, although the end product bears a sound that fraternizes more closely with early-'70s Miles Davis than, say, Nicholas Payton's Sonic Trance. The title is a phrase for the reaction (shock) that Pelt said he would get from many audiences upon playing this wired, electronic jazz. In a cover-story article in Down Beat prior to the album's release, Pelt said much of his material met puzzled and sometimes put off audiences. Despite, perhaps, a reticence on the part of audiences to follow suit, Shock Value is an album released in a period where many of Pelt's peers and some of his elders are finally tussling themselves free of some of the more staid jazz sounds and beginning to experiment again. Some of those products, such as Payton's Sonic Trance, Marcus Strickland's Open Reel Deck, and Wallace Roney's Mystikal were new-sounding products, fresh approaches. Here, Pelt more reinterprets and channels the vibe and overall essence of '70s-era efforts. Whether it's Frank LoCrasto finding a very Keith Jarrett-like nook on his Hammond and Fender Rhodes, or Pelt's heavy (and expert) use of his rigged horn in the Miles-ian sometimes-sparse/sometimes-torrid phrasing, or even young drummer Dana Hawkins who seems to alternate between Jack DeJohnette and Al Foster-ish kicking; much of this music has a familiar feel to it. This is not a bad thing -- by any stretch -- although it also isn't a new or unique thing. This is somewhat of a "shock," given that Pelt has quickly become the trumpet player of his generation during this decade expressly because of his unique voice on his horn and his heavy compositions as a writer. He ultimately maintains that designation with interesting offerings such as the folksy "Case," featuring singer Becca Stevens. And "Suspicion," a tune Pelt had been performing since 2005, twists and turns and broods with his own stamp, while "Beyond," yet again, shows Pelt's ability to write subtle and tranquilizing ballads on par with the prettiest of tunes. But it's the two nastier pieces ("Circular" and "Scorpio") -- tunes that could have been new-generation statements -- that sound as if Pelt is still studying as opposed to creating. For a lesser musician this is fine, for the potentially great, such as Pelt, this is somewhat of a tease or, at the very least, simply an appetizer for what he undoubtedly has in store for listeners as his career and music forge ahead. ~ Vincent Thomas


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