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Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt Is Understated And Nuanced On 'The Art Of Intimacy, Vol. 1'

Though Pelt can certainly play uptempo with a lot of fire, he also loves to play ballads, including a batch of obscure ones. A new album showcases his more introspective side.

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This is FRESH AIR. Jazz trumpeter Jeremy Pelt can play uptempo with a lot of fire, but he also loves to play ballads, including obscure ones. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Pelt's introspective side gets a workout on his new CD.


KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, with pianist George Cables and bassist Peter Washington, on "Then I'll Be Tired Of You." Jazz is a virtuoso music, but it's not always about fireworks. Sometimes, it's about more subtle things like refinement of the personal voice and deep knowledge of the popular songbook. Jeremy Pelt knows a bunch of good tunes other folks overlook, like that last one or this one, "Always On My Mind" by Johnny Green.


WHITEHEAD: Improvising on a tune after cradling the melody like that, you have to be careful. You could tear a hole in the delicate fabric without half-trying, and your solo has to maintain the same high, melodic standard as the song itself. Jeremy Peltz's variations lean away from a melody but still suggest its shape. This is Rodgers and Hart's "Little Girl Blue."


WHITEHEAD: This music's from Jeremy Pelt's CD "The Art Of Intimacy, Vol. 1." That title's a bit posh, but it's not wrong. The music's understated, as if the trio were playing off the cuff after hours. You can hear the nuances, all the subtle shifts in the trumpet's vocal quality. It's clear and veiled in whispered tones whether he's playing open horn or with a metal Harmon mute placed in the bell.


WHITEHEAD: Pianist George Cables and bassist Peter Washington get their moments, but it's fair to say they recognize Jeremy Pelt was having one of those days when they could best serve the music by standing back and letting him have his say. When the trio recorded "The Art Of Intimacy" one hot day last August, Jeremy Pelt came ready to testify.


DAVIES: Kevin Whitehead writes for Point of Departure and The Audio Beat. He reviewed "The Art Of Intimacy, Vol. 1" by Jeremy Pelt.

Tomorrow on FRESH AIR, imagine being a parent and learning your son is missing in a Central American rainforest thousands of miles away. Wilderness explorer Roman Dial will recount his frantic search, hacking through dense jungle, getting confusing and contradictory tips from locals and engaging private investigators who suspect foul play. Dial's book is "The Adventurer's Son." I hope you can join us.

FRESH AIR's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our engineer this week is Adam Staniszewski. Our associate producer of digital media is Molly Seavey-Nesper. Roberta Shorrock directs the show. For Terry Gross, I'm Dave Davies.

(SOUNDBITE OF JEREMY PELT'S "AB-O-LUTELY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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