Jeremy Pelt's 2011 effort, The Talented Mr. Pelt, features the same working ensemble the trumpeter has used since 2007, which includes tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Gerald Cleaver. In many ways, the album is a similarly inclined mix of adventurous, on-the-edge, post-bop and modal jazz that featured on Pelt's stellar 2010 album, Men of Honor. A forward-thinking improviser with an ear for late-'60s Miles Davis and '70s Woody Shaw, Pelt pushes the brass envelope as much as possible and can engage a listener quite well on record. In that sense, you never get a canned or predictable moment on The Talented Mr. Pelt. Tracks like the funky, off-kilter waltz "Paradise Lost" and the forceful, rough-around-the-edges "Pulse" are terrific modern jazz numbers that bring to mind both the dreamy compositions of saxophonist Wayne Shorter and the early, firebrand work of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Similarly, the gorgeous later-album ballad "Only" and the driving, eyes-toward-the-horizon closer "David and Goliath," while coming at group interplay from different emotional directions, find Pelt and his ensemble working as a cohesive unit of like-minded individuals who truly seem to dig playing with each other. Of all of Pelt's prodigious talents showcased on The Talented Mr. Pelt, clearly the ability to pick musically sympathetic and daring sidemen makes the album a joy to hear.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar