Venerable trumpeter Jeremy Pelt takes another step out of the modern jazz schema, expanding upon Water and Earth (HighNote Records, 2013) with his young band by forging an acoustic- electric jazz wonderland, swarming with colorful fabrications and capacious sonic environs. Featuring works abetted with strings, electronics, vocals and free-flight jazz-based improvisations, the program is heightened by Pelt's sparkling bop lines occasionally treated with echo and reverb processes. Moreover, the ensemble projects great depth, complemented by prudent implementations of electronics along with high-velocity breakouts, and vacillating cadences, tinted with a smattering of jazz-funk mechanisms.
The ensemble launches an electrifying groove-based vamp on "Stars Are Free." Interestingly enough, drummer Dana Hawkins unites acoustic drums and electronic drum programming, which at times, tends to sound overly busy or a bit cluttered, depending on one's preferences. But Hawkins instills a dynamic undercurrent, supporting Pelt's jazz-focused navigation of interstellar space atop the surging rhythms and Frank LoCrasto's crisp Fender Rhodes voicing and metronomic, time stamp like the metrics during the bridge. Here, the ensemble's athletic stride comes to the forefront. And Chris Smith's fluidly articulated, extended bass solo sparks additional excitement.
Pelt excels at producing a homogenized progressive and spacey jazz-fusion brew that is not overcooked, and includes a diverse mix, including a few tender vocal tracks. He doesn't intimate any revolutionary tactics but gets the job done by operating in fast- forward mode, framed with his gifted chops.
Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Roxy Cross: soprano and tenor saxophones, bass
clarinet; David Bryant: piano, organ, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer; Frank
Locrasto: Fender Rhodes (2); Chris Smith: acoustic and electric bass;
Dana Hawkins: drums, drum programming.
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