Press Release by Eugene Uman
Who: Jeremy Pelt Quintet Performs “Griot, This is Important!”
What: Live stream jazz concert and interview
Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Chien Chien Lu (vibraphone), Victor Gould (piano), Vicente Archer (acoustic bass) and Allan Mednard (drums).
When: Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 8:00 PM
Where: Access to the Event – online at www.vtjazz.org and https://www.facebook.com/VermontJazzCenter/live/
Cost – Free and Open to the public, donations accepted
“Pelt is a technical marvel. He executes intricate solos with ease, plays gorgeous ballads in a tasteful manner, and never lacks flair or sensitivity.” -Ron Wynn, JazzTimes
Vermont Jazz Center Presents Live Stream Performance of Acclaimed Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt Presenting Works from his New Recording: Griot: This is Important! on Saturday, March 20th at 8:00 PM
The Vermont Jazz Center will present trumpeter Jeremy Pelt in a live stream show featuring his working quintet on Saturday, March 20th at 8:00 PM. He will be performing music from his most recent album called Griot, This is Important! Joining Mr. Pelt will be the performers featured on this new recording: Chien Chien Lu (vibraphone), Victor Gould (piano), Vicente Archer (acoustic bass) and Allan Mednard (drums).
Jeremy Pelt is one of the finest jazz trumpeters of his generation; he has been compared favorably to Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw and Miles Davis. Nate Chinen of the New York Times sums up his abilities in a simple phrase: “Mr. Pelt plays brilliantly with warmth and depth.” Pelt expresses his mastery in a variety of settings. For example, his most recent trio album, The Art of Intimacy, Volume 1, showcases his golden tone in an understated set of Great American Songbook gems with pianist George Cables and bassist Peter Washington. Pelt’s numerous albums as a leader and sideman reveal his ease in playing over burning tempos and his delight in grooving over a visceral, swinging beat or taking his time on a saucy blues. Furthermore, Pelt is an accomplished composer and arranger – his original compositions convey unpretentious yet complex harmonic choices that complement the natural cadences of his melodies, resulting in song forms of enigmatic beauty.
Now in his mid-forties, Pelt has paid tribute to the jazz legacy by mastering its repertoire and history. He has produced highly acclaimed records as both a leader and sideman. His discography includes appearances on the albums of superstars like Wayne Shorter, Frank Foster, Harold Mabern, Rene Marie, Vincent Herring, the Mingus Big Band, Gerald Wilson and Cedar Walton. He has released over 20 albums as a leader and been involved as trumpeter, composer, or producer on over 250 recording projects including the soundtrack for a documentary on Miles Davis called Birth of the Cool.
In a recent interview with Matthew Kassel in Down Beat Magazine, Pelt mentioned that he has chosen to move beyond his role as a sideman in order to focus on projects that are fulfilling for him as an artist and conceptualist. This journey has taken him beyond music into collaborations with the visual arts and spoken word. In 2018 he released a recording inspired by the statues of the 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin called Jeremy Pelt, the Artist. Reviewing the work in the online blog Art Journal. Doug Ramsey notes that “For nearly two decades, Pelt has made it clear via his trumpet playing, and occasionally in interviews, that he is attuned to what other artists achieve in their work.” It is true that Pelt is keenly aware of the direction that the vanguard of the music is taking, but he carefully maintains and presents his own stylistic preferences. Pelt ventures into new territories when they match his aesthetic, but his body of work features him pushing the boundaries of the legendary Blue Note vibe of the early 1960s.
For his newest project, Pelt has turned to the spoken word for inspiration resulting in the recording Griot, This is Important!. This material provides the repertoire for his upcoming, March 20th live stream performance at the Jazz Center. The inspirational fodder for the compositions of this project are 3 dozen interviews Pelt conducted, recorded and made into a book with his mentors and peers. This is an exceptionally worthwhile recording – Reviewer Matt Collar of Allmusic draws our attention to “A Beautiful (F*king) Lie,” a composition whose title is borrowed from an interview Pelt held with vocalist René Marie “discussing her dissonant feelings surrounding her identity as a Black American.” Collar continues: “While Pelt’s music certainly stands on its own, the interviews included on Griot: This is Important! help to frame the deep sense of community and tradition that inspired it.” This observation is further substantiated by Pelt who is quoted in the CD’s liner notes: “I want people to understand that this is for everybody. But in many ways, this is a gift to my younger Black brothers and sisters hoping to play this music. And the reason it’s important – which goes to the title – is for them to understand that whatever they might be going through, their perspectives might run parallel to those of people who are generations apart from them. Maybe, to a certain extent, these younger people will find themselves in these stories.”
Appearing at the VJC with Jeremy Pelt will be Chien Chien Lu on the vibes. When asked in a Down Beat interview about the inclusion of Ms. Lu on his previous outing (Jeremy Pelt, the Artist), Pelt replied “Marimba and vibes, to me, both have an out quality. The possibilities from one note can transform a whole band and take you different places. It’s certainly something that I learned from Bobby Hutcherson and a lot of the more exploratory players.” He continued: “I met her teaching up at [the Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music in Alberta, Canada]…I want nothing more than to pass down information that I’ve learned… It makes me happy to be in a position where I’m able to hire people and kind of be a mentor and a bandleader and give people the opportunity to grow.” Lu is now recognized as an important member of the New York jazz scene. She released her first album as a leader, The Path, in the fall of 2020.
The pianist in Pelt’s quintet is Victor Gould, who is a recipient of the Herbie Hancock Presidential Scholarship at Berklee College and a Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz scholar. Gould’s honors include the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award. In 2006, he was a semifinalist in The Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. Gould has toured the United States and Europe as an established member of the Donald Harrison Quartet and has performed with Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Ralph Peterson, Wallace Roney, Buster Williams and many others. He appeared at the Vermont Jazz Center with Jazzmeia Horn in March of 2018. Gould has three albums out under his own name and appears on recordings with Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, Claffy, Etienne Charles, Ralph Peterson and others.
Performing on acoustic bass will be Vincente Archer who is best known for his steady work with Robert Glasper and Nicholas Payton. Archer is from Woodstock, New York, a small town with a deep musical history. Growing up he listened to local legends Dave Holland, Jimmy Cobb, Jack DeJohnette and others. While studying in Boston, he was discovered by and recorded with New Orleans legend Donald Harrison and performed with the Eric Reed Trio. Along with his recorded work with Glasper, Payton, Pelt and Harrison, Archer has performed or recorded with Kenny Garrett, Terence Blanchard, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Marlena Shaw, John Scofield, the Black Art Jazz Collective, Norah Jones, Louis Hayes, Curtis Fuller, Mark Whitfield, Roy Haynes, Geri Allen, Stanley Jordan, Karrin Allyson, Wycliffe Gordon, Stefon Harris, Janis Siegel, Lewis Nash, Carl Allen, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and many others.
On drums will be Allan Mednard. His recordings include work with Michael Wolff, Arcoiris Sandoval, Jeremy Pelt, Ben Allison and others. He has shared the stage with ensembles led by Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Parks, Ben Street, Godwin Louis, Andrew D’Angelo, Alix Ambroise, Jaleel Shaw, Le Boeuf Brothers, Melissa Aldana and many others.
The VJC is grateful for the generosity of long-term supporters David Salzberg and Elissa Barr who are this concert’s sponsors. David and Elissa are ardent jazz fans who make a point of traveling far in search of fine music. They are especially enthusiastic about bringing jazz to rural areas and providing scholarship assistance to young, aspiring music students. The Jazz Center is grateful to them for their proactive engagement in our community. Publicity is underwritten by The Commons and The Brattleboro Reformer. Additional PR is provided by CouchMusicLive, a new music presenting organization spearheaded by Tobey LaRouche. The VJC is also grateful to the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Humanities Council and New England Foundation of the Arts for their support and increased efforts to stabilize the existence of arts organizations during the pandemic.
Live streaming for this event is cost-free and open to the public. Donations to the Vermont Jazz Center will be gratefully accepted. Admission to VJC in-person concerts is usually offered on a sliding fee scale from $20 to $40 per person. The VJC now offers our events without charge on line, but donations are welcome and just a click away. Please give generously and support live music. Access to the event can be found online at www.vtjazz.org and at https://www.facebook.com/VermontJazzCenter/live/.
Underdog (From Griot, This is Important!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lem1ka0WCFc
Live Performance of the Rodin Suite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU1p818rGu8&t=204s