Water & Earth
Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt sets the tone quickly with his
newest release. An ever-present, oscillating Rhodes
played by David Bryant slides into place alongside
Burniss Earl Travis’ sympathetic bass for half a minute.
Pelt enters gently, building up steam until a Return to
Forever-esque vocal chorus soars with him. In just
under an hour, with the aid of voices, electricity and
effects, Pelt experiments with a psychedelic soul sound
without abandoning his command of the straightahead.
He has written all but one of the tunes. “Mystique”
and “Meditations on a Conversation We Had” hold the
spirit of Pelt’s straightahead leanings. He gives a
confident, blaring solo over the quickly moving
changes on the former while Bryant switches to piano
on the latter, swaying gently on Pelt’s breathy ballad.
“Boom Bishop” is the most adventurous track. Pelt
plugs in, getting his wah on and getting downright
funky on the extended workout. It’s a departure but it
grooves. “Stay” quickly digs into some post-production
with effects heaped on everyone’s performances.
Bryant’s Rhodes pans rapidly from left to right in
almost nauseating fashion while Frank LoCrasto lays
down some decaying keyboard effects. Vocalist Ra-Re
Valverde grooves with herself in a swirling call-and-
response. Drummer Dana Hawkins keeps it funky as
he does throughout the record. Pelt stretches out nicely
on “Pieces of a Dream”, Travis’ low-end splat bouncing
off of the trumpeter’s streaking sound before letting
tenor saxophonist Roxy Coss wail over Hawkins’
perpetual syncopated snap.
The liner notes consist of a single promise from
Pelt: “This music isn’t about a change in direction as
much as it’s about strengthening my commitment to
my art at present.” There will likely be some people
caught off guard by the amount of electrical outlets
required by Pelt’s new direction and whether they’re
all necessary will probably take a couple of releases to
sort out. In the meantime, this is a promising exploration
into a new realm.