Jeremy Pelt has the most beautiful trumpet tone exercised today. One needs to listen no further than his cover of Mingus' "Weird Nightmare," where one cannot distinguish his trumpet from his flugelhorn, save for a period in the middle section. On this piece, Mr. Pelt's tone is round and buttery warm in the first and third sections and simmering in the middle. Backed by a string quartet on several pieces, a "with strings" connotation would not have been off base. In fact, this disc would be comparable to Chet Baker with Strings had Baker had a modicum of Pelt's creative sense…
Jeremy Pelt stands as a strikingly unique musician, his work consistently sleek and polished yet bristling with the spirit of invention. A concise technician but also a charismatic improviser, Pelt flourishes in a lean, modernist language influenced by classic bebop phraseology. He delivers his lines with authority and economy, the pinpoint accuracy of his tone well-suited to the heightened elegance of his delivery. With Italian-born, New York-based pianist Simona Premazzi laying down the changes and Ben Allison's inventive bass lines, Jeremy is joined by the twin drums of Billy Drummond and Victor Lewis for an interesting session of originals, standards and music by Wayne Shorter and Clifford Jordan.
Pianist Victor Gould's debut utilizes a variety of large gears, pinions, and regulators to help fashion his own ideas. You just never know who'll be standing in for which of those parts. The high-octane combination of Gould, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer E.J. Strickland is at the center of each scene, but they're joined, at different times, by a variety of other musicians and instruments—saxophones, trumpet, flute, strings, and percussion—which help to create an intricate sonic mesh and add a variety of tonal colors to the mix. It's heady modernistic jazz language and high art rolled into one.
Vincent Herring is complemented by rising young trumpeter Jeremy Pelt on this enjoyable studio date. "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" is a standard from the swing era, though the quintet translates it into a hard bop vehicle very well, with the leader throwing in a quick reference to another song ("Kerry Dance") from long ago. Herring is a bit playful in his treatment of the ballad "You Leave Me Breathless," while he handles McCoy Tyner's explosive "Four by Five" with finesse. But most of the session is devoted to originals by the band. Bassist Richie Goods contributed the funky, infectious "Citizen of Zamunda," which showcases the leader on his dancing soprano sax. Pianist Danny Grissert, who evidently made his recording debut with this CD, not only proves himself as a capable soloist, but also penned the exciting "Hopscotch" (marked by its use of stop time) and the tense "Encounters."