Indeed, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt is a talented individual. A rising star who boasts a reputable resume as a first-call session artist and leader, he's been in the thick of things since his graduation from the Berklee School of Music and arrival in New York City in the late 90's. Here, Pelt and his ensemble breeze through a potpourri of simmering, crisply executed bop and swing vamps. Perpetual motion and a steady stream of improvisational jaunts by the soloists, prompt remembrances of the classic Blue Note Record era, where hard bop and tuneful storylines assimilate into a consortium of vibrant counter-maneuvers, darting grooves, and cunning detours.
Pelt's fluent phrasings, abetted by a brassy tone and commanding presence, help steer the quintet through numerous rhythmic variations and colorific shadings. One constant throughout the album pertains to the oscillating undercurrents that form a fluid foundation for these largely, up-tempo works. On "Pulse," drummer Gerald Cleaver's intro launches an after-hours vibe, featuring Pelt's bluesy and subdued lines, offset by pianist Danny Grissett's accenting progressions as the group segues into a shifting cadence amid traces of bravura. And, the band tempers the pace on the following track with a sultry ballad rendition of the standard, "In Love Again."
The program is an aggregation of dynamic theme-building regimens, often enamored by warm treatments and mood-evoking fluctuations in strategy, witnessed on "David and Goliath," for example. On this piece, Pelt, Grissett and saxophonist J.D. Allen slash and burn via blustery developments. Think of a cyclical sequence of events consisting of jagged loops, dips, spikes and budding movements.
Pelt injects the proceedings with adrenaline rushes, but complements the grand schema with harmonious passages and a few tender moments inserted into choice spots. Hence, it's a two-fold, progressive-jazz exhibition that yields stimuli for one's neural system, and nourishes the soul along the way.