The Jeremy Pelt Show, an acoustic/electric quintet led by Jeremy Pelt, played a beautiful and soulful show at the Jazz Standard on April 8th. This stellar band features saxophonist Roxy Coss, David Bryant on Fender Rhodes, Dana Hawkins on drums and Chris Smith on acoustic and electric bass.
Having been on the NYC jazz scene since the late 1990s, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt has played and recorded with a number of legendary jazz musicians. He started playing music when he was a kid, but seriously got into jazz when he started high school, incidentally the year Miles, who remains an inspiration, died. His musical influences also include Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, as well as contemporaries Terence Blanchett and Roy Hargrove. Speaking of his initial attraction jazz, Jeremy said that he was drawn to the feeling, “I wasn’t really in a state of mind to think about the harmonic complexity. I was in high school. I pursued it for the feeling.”
At the Jazz Standard, the band played mainly the material from the newly released album Face Forward, Jeremy as well as pieces from Water and Earth and Identity. Reflecting upon the meaning of the new album, Mr. Pelt said, “it’s almost like a mantra that you keep telling yourself. It’s a reminder to keep things fresh. […] Face Forward has everything to do with making improvement on my old self, and trying to reinvent myself. And despite the popular belief it has nothing to do with electronics or anything like that.” Their sound is fresh and the mixture of acoustic and electronic music worked really well together. Throughout the evening the band continued to create a surreal and beautiful musical experience and Mr. Pelt played fiery solos that fully captured the attention of the audience.
The back and forth between the sax and the trumpet was particularly dynamic and thoughtful when the Jeremy Pelt Show played Princess Charlie, a tune from the last album dedicated to Jeremy’s little daughter. Bryant’s Fender Rhodes provided a magical landscape for the music. Mr. Pelt’s sound, amplified with wah wah, was dreamy and rich, his soloing delightful and full of feeling.
For musicians like Jeremy Pelt playing live is the reason to write and excel, constantly trying to improve and evolve, “a lot of it is about being able to perform it live. Just perform it at all. You sit there and spend hours and hours practicing and writing. And I don’t do that for any kind of therapeutic purpose. It’s really there so I can share it with others. “ April is Jazz Appreciation Month and one of the best things one can do is go see a live jazz show, regardless of whether you are already a fan or not, it will be an experience to remember.
Anna Yatskevich is Flowers In A Gun’s glamorous jazz & beyond critic! Catch more reviews from her here and follow her on Twitter @jazzaddikt.