Whew! Let’s dissect this one, shall we? We’ve got a great blend of genres here, straight-ahead, fusion, and blues being the most prominent. Add the title of the album: Shock Value. Then, add the group: Jeremy Pelt and Wired. Finally, it’s a live set played at where else? Manhattan’s Smoke club! Now, what image does that conjure up for you? My description? Unbridled energy and electricity. Understatement: Jeremy Pelt is a fantastic trumpeter. To witness him live (even on CD) is a truly special treat.
The set kicks off with a hot and heavy fusion piece, "Circular," which is guaranteed to excite. The talented lot then forges ahead with one of the tightest blues cuts I’ve heard in a while. It’s called what else? "Blues," and do they ever play it. Take it from one who adores the blues and played it for quite a bit during his active guitar playing days. This 12-minute journey almost made me dust off the ol’ axe and "get busy" again. Talk about fire and emotion. It’s all there in abundance. More fiery fusion follows before we get a chance to hear the flowery vocals of Becca Stevens, accompanied by Al Street’s proficient guitar work and Pelt’s powerfully "vocal" trumpet on "Cause," a slow, sweet, and moving piece. Well worth waiting for. The group closes the volcanic set with a well-written special effects-laden finale, "Scorpio."
This 5-time winner of DownBeat’s Critics Poll as the top rising star trumpeter truly lights it up with Shock Value. The only thing better than hearing it would be to have witnessed it live. I can only imagine. Surrounded by the solid talents of guitarist Al Street, keyboardist Frank LoCrasto, bassist Gavin Fallow, and drummer Dana Hawkins, Pelt turns the two nights on which he played this set into an inferno of intense jazz that had to be more than anyone there had hoped for. This is a pick-of-the-litter album.