Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt started his recordings with New York-based HighNote Records back in 2010 with “Men Of Honor”, an album which features J.D. Allen on tenor sax, Danny Grissett on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums. He released four albums on MaxJazz before that and his debut on Fresh Sound New Talent in 2002. Interestingly, ever since his 2010 start at HighNote, he released a new album for the label each year up until now. And it’s a very diverse and eclectic oeuvre. Just recently, he came up with the second set of ballads called “The Art Of Intimacy” featuring Victor Gould on piano, Buster Williams on bass, and Billy Hart on drums. Also, a string ensemble and Chico Pinheiro on guitar on one track.
Jeremy has recorded two of my favorite Henry Mancini songs for this project: “Slow Hot Wind”, the utterly luxurious piece originally known as “Lujon” from his 1961 LP “Mr. Lucky Goes Latin”, and “Two For The Road”, a duet here with guitarist Chico Pinheiro on which Jeremy can also be heard on vocals. I really like the string arrangement, courtesy of David O’Rourke, on “If I Ruled The World”, the highly melancholic Leslie Bricusse tune, somehow forever associated with the Tony Bennett version of 1964. A beautiful gem. There is an altogether lush and sweet mood on the all-embracing “I Can’t Escape From You”, originally written in 1936, and later sung by Carmen McRae (listen to her amazing rendition on her 1957 LP “After Glow”). It is clear that Jeremy knows the words to all of the songs here. His playing is pretty lyrical, telling the story with understatement, finesse, and persuasion.
Repertoire is king on the album (or queen, or anything in between): remember the soft and tender “There’ll Be Other Times”, the Marian McPartland composition? Marian has recorded it several times and here, with poignant playing by Victor on piano and heartbreaking muted trumpet, the ambiance is rich with longing and desire. The strings are back, albeit in a more reserved way and never over-shadowing the proceedings, for the restrained “Don’t Love Me”, yet again with another pure and heartfelt drive. There are two Pelt originals: for a slight change of pace, the elegant “Blues In Sophistication”, and the svelte album opener “…For Whom I Love So Much”. I really like the idea that the strings are as much part of the group as the other instruments, and never get in the way, never become mere decoration.