Jeremy Pelt Threefer: Caution! Hard Hat Area!; Relentless & Twilight & Blues
Jeremy Pelt has become a sought-after sideman and his trumpeting has been tapped for three recording projects here: two auspicious debuts by emerging talents, the other from a veteran West Coast pianist.
Drummer Gasper Bertoncelj is from Slovenia, but his musical allegiances skew more toward hard bop than Eastern Europe. Caution! follows the Blue Note/Prestige approach of bringing together a quintetpared down to quartet or trio on half the tracksto play material (mostly his) in workmanlike, fairly minimal arrangements. The title tune, with a funky shuffle reminiscent of "The Sidewinder," begins with Pelt's Harmon-muted trumpet paired with Vincent Herring's alto sax, the former's solo prancing over the leader's buoyant beats. "Love for Sale," given a Latin flavor and a fast 4/4 in the bridge, is a quartet feature for Pelt's effervescent swing. Pelt echoes Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan on two other hard bop tracks, but it is on bassist Boris Kozlov's ballad "Ashes" that his command of long, lyrical lines shines forth.
Pelt performs admirably on the two tracks featuring him on Relentless, saxophonist Sharel Cassity's debut album. But those two quintet pieces by Cassity in classic hard bop mode are not the norm on the album, one more concerned with the nuances of ensemble presentation. Cassity is an intriguing composer/arranger whose work here includes her multiple-metered "Song of Those Who Seek," winner of the ASCAP Foundation's 2007 Young Jazz Composer Award. Trombonist Michael Dease composed the title tune, a compulsive theme perfectly showcasing Cassity's acerbic, yearning lines and penchant for imbuing notes with a rising density, like yeast in dough. Cassity's galvanizing, slightly serrated tone on both soprano and alto sax is spotlighted and set off by arrangements that employ extra horns or exotic rhythms and ensemble passages. This album reveals deft, nuanced touches.
A definite West Coast cool vibe clings to a lot of pianist Lisa Hilton's Twilight & Blues. There's a wafting quality to the laconic progressions of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," a rolling, hypnotic feel to the original "Twilight" and rhapsodic gentleness to the solo "Moon River." Hilton, whose style can be laconic or lyrically incisive, is an impressionist intent on creating and sustaining moods. "Pandemonium," the opening track, is a shuffle bounce (courtesy of drummer Lewis Nash) over a bass ostinato (FLY), the horns (Pelt and tenor sax JD Allen) floating solos separately and together over the beat in what could be called polyphonic noodling. Two versions of "What's Going On," the theme peeking through in piano passages, also feature horns noodling, echoes of the multi-tracking of Marvin Gaye's original recording. Pelt's trumpet is largely a color in Hilton's canvases employed more for his clarion tone than personality.
Tracks and Personnel
Caution! Hard Hat Area!
Tracks: Caution! Hard Hat Area!; Medina; Delirious; Love for Sale; Too Slow; Ashes; What's This?; It Happened Again.
Personnel: Vincent Herring: alto sax: flute; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet: flugelhorn; Peter Mihelich: piano; Boris Kozlov: bass; Gasper Bertoncelj: drums.
Tracks: Say What?; Still; Relentless; Call To Order; Love's Lament; Song of Those Who Seek; No Turning Back; On the Nile.
Personnel: Sharel Cassity: alto and soprano sax: flute; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet (3 tracks); Michael Dease: trombone (5 tracks); Orrin Evans: piano; Dwayne Burno: bass; E.J. Strickland: drums; Thomas Barber: flugelhorn (3 tracks); Andres Boyarsky: tenor sax (3 tracks); Don Braden: alto flute (1 track).
Twilight & Blues
Tracks: Pandemonium; Woodstock; What's Going On; City Streets; Turbulent Blue; Twilight; Kozmic Blues; Blue for You; Moon River; What's Going On (short version).
Personnel: Lisa Hilton: piano: vocals; Lewis Nash: drums; Larry Grenadier: bass;; Jeremy Pelt: J.D. Allen: saxophones.