Jeremy Pelt Quintet | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Jeremy Pelt Quintet Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Thu., May 28, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., May 29, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., May 30, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., May 31, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2015

Few mainstream jazz figures of Jeremy Pelt’s generation (he’s 38) can match the trumpeter’s restless creativity. Despite all the technically gifted horn players out there, it’s rare to find one who embraces a straight-ahead aesthetic yet constantly tweaks his music in order to try new things. Pelt led one of my favorite groups of the past decade, in which he reimagined the sound of the classic Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter, and he’s explored groove-heavy fusion at length. On the dazzling new Tales, Musings and Other Reveries (HighNote) he changes direction yet again, primarily by working with two high-grade drummers, Billy Drummond and Victor Lewis, and giving them loads of freedom. The percussionists can blend elegantly together, complementing each other without tripping themselves up, but when they let loose, as they do on galvanic opener “Glass Bead Games” (an overlooked gem by saxophonist Clifford Jordan), it really cranks up the excitement in the music. Their aggression clearly inspires Pelt, who delivers some of the fieriest, most daring solos I’ve ever heard from him. Veteran bassist Ben Allison, his playing here at its most muscular and driving, provides a crucial center for the band, holding together the shape of the themes (written mostly by Pelt). Sly pianist Simona Premazzi occasionally accents her acoustic lines with well-placed washes of Fender Rhodes, making her contributions with an almost furtive grace—and though her stealthy approach leaves plenty of space for Pelt’s protean solos, she nonetheless makes every subtle improvised flourish hit hard. The band Pelt is bringing for these Chicago dates unfortunately includes only one drummer—the very able Jonathan Barber—but because Allison and Premazzi are both in tow, I don’t expect the sets to be short on energy or inventiveness. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25

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