Jeremy Pelt, The Art of Intimacy Vol. 2 His Muse, High Note ****

You know what to expect you might think with Jeremy Pelt. Certainly state of the art 21st century hard bop from the trumpeter as guaranteed. And yet you never step in the same river twice, the philosopher said, when still more considerations are …

Published: 13 Mar 2023. Updated: 8 months.

You know what to expect you might think with Jeremy Pelt.

Certainly state of the art 21st century hard bop from the trumpeter as guaranteed.

And yet you never step in the same river twice, the philosopher said, when still more considerations are thought about.

So what lifts or doesn't beyond above expectations of supreme excellence and idiomatic exactitude in the Hubbardian mould here? Vol. 1 in this series came out in 2020 and had pianist icon George Cables and bassist's bassist Peter Washington on it.

This time it is far more expansive. Trumpet avatar Pelt (born 1976 in Los Angeles), pianist Victor Gould smouldering in a contrastive context on Lakecia Benjamin 2023 release tour de force Phoenix particularly 'New Mornings,' the Mwandishi great bassist Buster Williams and also from the Mwandishi era - one of Herbie Hancock's greatest ever bands - drummer Billy Hart. Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro is on 'Two For The Road.'

More lush this time strings are an element arranged and conducted by expat Irishman in New York David O'Rourke.

There is no sense of drift. But when the arrangements are at their lushest they don't work as well as when the beat gets a chance to emerge more. And that is when Williams shows his tonal class by mining the deepest vibrations to cut through to all listeners out there and our collective soul on vastly swung romper 'Blues in Sophistication' and then all is well in the world.

An album that includes notably a version of Henry Mancini's 'A Slow Hot Wind' that proves superb and where the arrangement works better. As 'Lujon' the composition was introduced on Mr Lucky Goes Latin [RCA Victor, 1961] when without words. Otherwise when with the Norman Gimbel words sung rendered 'A Slow Hot Wind' (often thought of in titular terms as one and the same thing avec ou sans paroles regardless). Choice, classic, versions include the great singer Johnny Hartman who magically interpreted the song on The Voice That Is.

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Jeremy Pelt, photo: High Note publicity shot

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Isao Suzuki, Approach, BBE Music ***1/2

Until now Approach has not, according to BBE Music, been reissued in 36 years when it first came out. The bassist Isao Suzuki - who hailed from Tokyo, recorded for such cult labels as Three Blind Mice, was in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the …

Published: 11 Mar 2023. Updated: 8 months.

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Until now Approach has not, according to BBE Music, been reissued in 36 years when it first came out.

The bassist Isao Suzuki - who hailed from Tokyo, recorded for such cult labels as Three Blind Mice, was in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the early-1970s and who died in 2022 - is in his Black Orpheus period (a Three Blind Mice trio album that had Donald Bailey on it).

But here in a bass, drums, keys, guitar setting the Approach line-up includes the pianist Hideo Ichikawa who worked on some Joe Henderson albums that included 1973's blisteringly compelling In Japan. Ichikawa comes over in a pastoral Keith Jarrett 1970s vein on 'Otari'. And yet he is even better when he goes free on 'Tornado.'

Suzuki's gritttily raw edge that characterises his sense of rugged beat has a thrusting, probing validity best experienced through the charisma of his ostinato flourish exhibited on 'East Words' - the longest and most absorbing piece. The drummer here Masahiko Togashi, who worked with free-jazz pioneer Paul Bley and the great Masabumi Kikuchi, is not an intrusive presence at all. But he certainly makes his presence felt in all the right places. Black Orpheus is a better record. But chances are you will be spirited into Suzuki's world if previously impervious or worse oblivious to it anyway.

Isao Suzuki, photo: Wikipedia