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Be Bop - Released February 8, 2019 | HighNote Records

Hi-Res Booklet
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