From the Winter 2003 issue.
Close to My Heart
By Jeremy Pelt
Max Jazz Records: 2003
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
This one's a knockout! Remarkably, since trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's previous CD outing, the uninteresting "Profiles," is surely showing up in the used CD bins wherever trade-ins are taken.
"Profiles" put Pelt in ther middle of an ensemble that was probably meant to be a forward-sounding, edgy post-bop affair. It didn' work. What you got was trite stuff, uninspired performances all around. I found it all but unlistenable.
"Close to My Heart," on the other hand, is a whole new story: bring in a top-notch rhythm section Mulgrew Miller on piano; Peter Washington, bass; and Lewis Nash on the skins wrap them around Pelt's lovely trumpet tone, and it sounds so good that, especially in light of the previous effort, you almost think Pelt went out and sold his soul to the devil. "Profile" was forgettable; "Close to My Heart" is near-classic.
The trumpeter's playing here is simply beautiful. Roy Hargrove, Terrance Blanchard and Wynton Marsalis are the names mentioned most when speaking of pure and gorgeous horn tone. Add Jeremy Pelt to that list.
Eleven songs, all covers, mostly lesser-known material, excepting the opener, Mingus' "Weird Nightmare," sweetened by a string quartet, as are five of the songs here. And if you're one of those prigs who doesn't like the "jazz with strings" genre, you might want to pass this one up while you're on your way to getting your head examined. If you do go for the jazz and strings, this one is essential. The combination of the rhythm section's subtle eloquence, Pelt's beautiful playing, and adroitly arranged string quartet makes this one I think I said it before a near-classic.
Review by Dan McClenaghan. Dan is a writer living in Oceanside, Calif. Read his biography on his AllAboutJazz.com page.