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A prolific composer, Jeremy Pelt wrote all the pieces for Identity, his fourth album as a leader.
His bright trumpet tone and mellow flugelhorn ambience give the session a highly lyrical quality. The quartet drives with a straight-ahead jazz sensibility that emphasizes spirit over technique. That's not to imply Pelt's anything but a superb trumpeter. At 28 going on 29, he's already polished his skills to perfection. He cohesively melds his instrumental voice with those of the other members of his ensemble, and still demonstrates a powerful grasp of the trumpet's range. His horns soar up high, flow gently with a seamless quality, attack fiercely, or nestle in comfortably to suit the music's purpose.
Pelt casts impressions; thus, his music allows him to draw upon a wide range of moods.
On trumpet, his sound forges bright and full. Echoes fill the air as Pelt places strong emotional emphasis on his attacks. He can also let the music flow intuitively, as he does on "Eye of the Beholder," a dedication to the memory of pianist James Williams. Throaty of tone and resonating with passion, he lets this tribute song cast its shadow far and wide. Frank LoCrasto's electric piano provides a moody spell as the piece unfolds with a mesmerizing quality that recalls the later periods of Miles Davis' career.
Jauntier numbers such as "Angular" and "Suspicion" come filled with energy and guttural emotion. The latter piece, serving as the album's high point, pushes the trumpeter's leading edge of creativity higher and higher. Recalling the best years of Freddie Hubbard's career, this fiercely animated piece rocks hard. Guitarist Mike Moreno adds a thrilling guitar solo to "Suspicion" that bolsters the trumpeter's aim. Together, he and his ensemble create a recommended session that leaves a lasting impression.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.