All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

348

Jeremy Pelt and JD Allen: New Leaders at Kennedy Center

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
I could tell right away that this cat meant business. It seemed like his trumpet had a serious love affair with him
Jeremy PeltSince first playing together in the early '90s under drummer extraordinaire Winard Harper, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's and saxophonist JD Allen's paths have crossed several times, as they solidified their places at the forefront of modern jazz. Each now a master technician, innovative composer, and successful bandleader, Pelt recently asked Allen to contribute to the Jeremy Pelt Quintet's latest —November (MAXJAZZ, 2008). They will perform together on October 3, 2008 at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club, in Washington, DC to celebrate its release.



"The first time that we ever shared a stage together was in the late '90s." explains Allen, "I could tell right away that this cat meant business. It seemed like his trumpet had a serious love affair with him...Great boxers, great comedians, great speakers, great improvisers have one thing in common—great timing. Jeremy Pelt's timing then and now is king."



A consummate stylist, Pelt's success came early. First as a sideman with many of jazz's top bands, including the Mingus Big Band, Frank Wess, and Ravi Coltrane, Pelt's phenomenal tone captured critical attention. Then Pelt's elegant compositions and arrangements on early releases—Profile (Blue Moon, 2002), Close to My Heart (MAXJAZZ, 2003) and Insight (Criss Cross, 2003)—pushed him further into the spotlight as a leader in his own right.



Pelt has since experimented in numerous contexts from post-bop to cool, including going electric with his band "Wired." A master of many genres, audiences can never be sure just what Pelt will offer on stage, but they can rest assured it will be delivered with fire.



JD AllenAllen, who faced a more tortured rise, has more recently burst on the scene as a leader. After working for years as a sideman, Allen fell on difficult times, both professional and personal, leaving him at one point nearly destitute and struggling to make ends meet. "At one point I really was homeless," Allen explains. "I still practiced everyday, but I was homeless." Faced with the stark choice of leaving New York or finding a way forward, Allen entered a period of deep personal transformation. "I started praying and going to church, reading The Bible; and telling myself positive things to change around my thinking."



Finding new purpose in this spiritual revival, Allen reached a new level of creative force, as evidenced by —I AM I AM (Sunnyside, 2008), which garnered much acclaim for its passion and compositional profundity.



"JD is something completely different," responded Pelt when asked about his choice to use Allen on November. "This is the first time I've actually been excited to play with another horn player... JD (and everyone in the band) really knows how to get into my sound. He's an incredibly sympathetic player. I also dig that he's not afraid to mess up or play wrong notes. He's a true jazz musician."



Tracing the arcs and musical intersections of these two young players, it is more than a little tempting to construct parallels to perhaps the greatest of all trumpet and saxophone partnerships, Davis and Coltrane: Pelt, the smooth stylist, multiple bandleader, genre experimentalist; Allen, the spiritual seeker, explosive soloist, brave composer. But to do so would be to deny Pelt and Allen what are their own unique, hard fought musical trajectories, both of which are only just beginning and alight with promise.



Hear more Pelt here.



Visit Jeremy Pelt and JD Allen on the web.



Photo Credits

Jeremy Pelt: Hans Speekenbrink

JD Allen: Frank Stewart

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

In Pictures
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Jive Culture

Jive Culture

HighNote Records
2016

buy
 Tales, Musings, and Other Reveries

Tales, Musings, and...

HighNote Records
2015

buy
Face Forward, Jeremy

Face Forward, Jeremy

HighNote Records
2014

buy
Water And Earth

Water And Earth

HighNote Records
2013

buy
Soul

Soul

HighNote Records
2012

buy
The Talented Mr. Pelt

The Talented Mr. Pelt...

HighNote Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater Live Reviews
The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater
by Mackenzie Horne
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Enjoy Jazz 2018 Live Reviews
Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Jazz for all Ages Live Reviews
Jazz for all Ages
by Martin McFie
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Baku Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Baku Jazz Festival 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Moldejazz 2018 Live Reviews
Moldejazz 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Pablo Ziegler Latin Jazz Trio at Sha Tin Town Hall" Live Reviews Pablo Ziegler Latin Jazz Trio at Sha Tin Town Hall
by Rob Garratt
Published: October 22, 2018
Read "TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2018
by John Kelman
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Crispell-Fonda-Sorgen Trio Live at The Falcon" Live Reviews Crispell-Fonda-Sorgen Trio Live at The Falcon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 29, 2017