- Phil Freeman
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Episode 21 of the Burning Ambulance podcast – we’re adults now! – features an interview with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who’s been on the scene more or less since the dawn of the 21st century. He made his first album as a leader in 2002, but he really broke out of the pack in 2008, when he formed a quintet with JD Allen on tenor sax, Danny Grissett on piano, the late Dwayne Burno on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums. He made four albums with that group – November in 2008, Men of Honor in 2010, The Talented Mr. Pelt in 2011, and Soul in 2012 – and they’re all terrific. That was where I started listening to him – the first album I heard was The Talented Mr. Pelt, and I went backward immediately and checked out Men of Honor and November, and Soul. I interviewed him for Burning Ambulance in 2011, and have written about him a lot on the site in the years since, because he makes an album a year, and they’re always worth hearing.
After that quintet broke up, he started experimenting, changing up the musicians he was working with on every album. He made two records that went in more of an electronic, fusion-ish direction, Water and Earth and Face Forward, Jeremy; then he made a record with two drummers, Tales, Musings and Other Reveries; then he made a quartet record, #jiveculture, with Danny Grissett back on piano and Ron Carter on bass, and Billy Drummond, who’d also played on Tales, on drums. And in the last couple of years, he’s formed a new band, centered around his partnership with Victor Gould. He played on Gould’s album Clockwork, and then brought him into his band for the album Make Noise, from last year, and this new live album.
That’s not all he’s got going on, though. Jeremy Pelt is on about a half dozen records coming out in 2018. He’s on saxophonist Wayne Escoffery’s new record Vortex; he’s on three tracks from organist Jared Gold’s new album Reemergence; he’s part of the band on Don’t Play With Love, a collection of pieces composed by Prince‘s father, John L. Nelson; he and saxophonist Jim Snidero recorded a tribute to Cannonball Adderley called Jubilation; and he’s a member of the Black Art Jazz Collective along with Wayne Escoffery, and they just released their second album, Armor of Pride. This is one of the longest episodes of the podcast – almost 80 minutes – because Jeremy Pelt has a lot to say, and it’s all worth hearing.