Albums

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Bebop - To be released April 12, 2019 | Savant

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Bebop - To be released April 12, 2019 | Savant

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Bebop - Released March 8, 2019 | Savant

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Bebop - Released June 6, 2016 | Jazz Masters

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Bebop - Released February 8, 2019 | HighNote Records

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Showcasing a five-part suite based on the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Jeremy Pelt's 2019 album, The Artist, finds the trumpeter translating his love of the visual arts into a set of deeply textured compositions that touch upon harmonically rich modalism, driving post-bop, and lyrical balladry. Beginning with the hypnotic "The Rodin Suite, Pt. 1: L'Appel aux armes," which translates fittingly as "the call to arms," The Artist evokes the '70s jazz of artists like Woody Shaw and Bobby Hutcherson. It's a sound Pelt has long embraced, at least as far back 2013's fusion-influenced Water and Earth, and one that he has increasingly made his own. Which is to say, while The Artist brings to mind the vibes, keyboard, and groove-oriented aesthetics of '70s jazz, it never sounds like pastiche, and remains a nuanced palette for Pelt to draw from. Adding rich colors to this palette are Pelt's bandmates: pianist Victor Gould, bassist Vicente Archer, guitarist Alex Wintz, marimba player Chien Chien Lu, and percussionist Ismel Wignall. Together they play with a deft sense of group interplay that's as much the focus as Pelt's own improvisatory prowess and balmy tone. In fact, Pelt bows out of "The Rodin Suite, Pt. 2: Dignity and Despair (Burghers of Calais)" altogether, allowing Gould to lead the ensemble with his gem-tone keyboard warmth. "The Rodin Suite, Pt. 3: I sol tace (Gates of Hell)" is perhaps the most fusion-sounding track as the trumpeter paints the song's intro with thick wah-wah and echo pedal-dipped lines against a backdrop of woody marimba and conga, before settling into an arid, slow-burn noir groove. Similarly evocative is "The Rodin Suite, Pt. 4: Camille Claudel (L'Éternel printemps)," whose sparkling chimes, fuzzy marimba, and drawn-out dual guitar and trumpet melody conjure the image of sculptor Camille Claudel (Rodin's muse and partner), framing her tragic story in a haze of sadness and midday languor. Elsewhere, Pelt continues to pull inspiration from the visual arts, offering up the buoyant Latin rhythms of "Ceramic," the propulsive swing of "Feito," and the exuberant harmonic spirals of "Watercolors." With The Artist, Pelt has crafted an album that engages your attention and captivates your imagination much in the same way Rodin's famed sculptures continue to fascinate audiences. ~ Matt Collar
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Bebop - Released February 8, 2019 | Savant

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Bebop - Released January 18, 2019 | Savant

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Bebop - Released December 15, 2018 | Hevhetia

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Bebop - Released December 14, 2018 | Nonesuch

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The jazz tradition has long taken pop songs, reimagined and reinvented them harmonically and rhythmically and re-presented them as vehicles for improvisation. Pat Metheny has done something different on What's It All About, his second Nashville-tuned baritone acoustic guitar record (with a handful of other acoustic instruments and no overdubs, but there are edits). Here he performs ten pop songs that have long been part of his personal arcana and recorded them so that we might hear what's inside these songs -- as songs. Recorded on a single day in February of 2011, Metheny interprets well-known songs by Paul Simon, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lennon & McCartney, Henry Mancini, the Ventures, Burt Bacharach, Paul Williams, Terry Kirkman, Carly Simon, Thom Bell, and others across the pop spectrum. His approach is deliberate; his interest is in the subtlety of melody; its nuance, and mystery; he finds the places he hears inside the music before these songs even begin, or just after they end, through a unique series of tunings he employs between A-flat and C. "The Sound of Silence" opens the set by suggesting the tones of a Japanese koto in its intro (courtesy of his 42-string Pikasso guitar). When the melody commences, its languorous richness and rhythmic balance are so perfect, we hear it not only as the pop song we remember by Simon & Garfunkel, but as a lyric invention that is almost magical in its possibility. The version of Kirkman's "Cherish" (a big hit by the Association), is equally profound. He finds the space where the human voice inserts itself in the harmonic structure and opens it with his guitar. There is slightly more improvisation in "Alfie," but it's open, spacious, and full of hinted-at dimensions in the crafting of the song's parameters. "Girl from Ipanema," played as a skeletal, impressionistic ballad, uncovers suggestions of darker melodies inside. He pulls out both the implied elegance in "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," and the quietly majestic variety of it in "Rainy Days and Mondays." "Betcha by Golly, Wow" stands as a revelation: its inventive harmonics and syncopations are inherent in the tune's basic architecture. In closer "And I Love Her" are the direct implications of bossa that Lennon and McCartney had no doubt taken note of at the time. Ultimately, What's It All About is an intimate work revealing Metheny's investigation of composition itself. The notion of song is inherent in everything he does, and he reveals that inspiration in spades here. ~ Thom Jurek
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Bebop - Released December 7, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released December 7, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released December 7, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released November 30, 2018 | Vertigo

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Bebop - Released November 9, 2018 | Savant

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Bebop - Released November 9, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 12, 2018 | Fon-Trade Music

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Bebop - Released August 31, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Pianist Cyrus Chestnut is a virtuoso player with deep roots in both spiritual gospel music and harmonically sophisticated jazz. That said, he's also a classically trained artist with a wide-ranging and eclectic taste in music. He brings all of these influences to bear on his nuanced and enveloping 2018 trio date, Kaleidoscope. Joining him are bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Chris Beck, who offer empathetic support throughout. Here, Chestnut has chosen a handful of his favorite classical compositions, including tracks by Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel, which he reworks in his own inimitable jazz style, alongside other standards and his own originals. What's particularly compelling about his choices is just how well the classical songs fit into the jazz trio concept. The Satie selections in particular lend themselves to a jazz approach. Chestnut's languid reading of "Gymnopedie No. 1" has the feel of a hazy summer afternoon, and brings to mind Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts soundtracks. He also turns the composer's "Son Binocle" into a jauntily urbane bossa nova. Elsewhere, he transforms Debussy's "Jimbo's Lullaby" into a bluesy, far-eyed rumination, anchored by a soulful bass solo intro from Wheeler. Similarly engaging is the trio's dramatic, modal jazz take on Ravel's "Entre Cloches," in which Chestnut's spiraling solo swells into a sustained din of reverberating bass notes before returning to the main theme. Conversely, his own songs, like the meditative "Father Time" and the lyrical "Prayer for Claudine," evince a classical feel, displaying his knack for finely attenuated melodies and richly textured harmonics. He splits the difference on his swaggering version of Deep Purple's classic rock anthem "Smoke on the Water," diving into the iconic main theme with Rachmaninov-esque dynamism and then pulling back into a mutative, Eastern-influenced improvisation. ~ Matt Collar
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Bebop - Released August 31, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released July 27, 2018 | Time-Life Music

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