venerdì 25 novembre 2011

Intervista a Jeremy Pelt

Jeremy Pelt è uno dei trombettisti emergenti della scena newyorkese, dove ha collaborato con alcuni del top musicians della città, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Charlie Persip, Frank Foster, John Hicks, Ravi Coltrane, Vincent Herring, Ralph Peterson, Lonnie Plaxico, Nancy Wilson, Cedar Walton.
Attualmente Pelt è membro della Lewis Nash Septet, e del The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band featuring Louis Hayes, ma possiede anche un proprio fantastico quintetto (JD Allen al tenor sax, Danny Grissett al piano, Dwayne Burno al basso e Gerald Cleaver alla batteria) con il quale ha registrato tre album, di cui l'ultimo è lo splendido The Talented Mr. Pelt, che si ispira in maniera piuttosto palese al famoso "secondo quintetto" di Miles Davis.
Il sito Burning Ambulance ha recentemente pubblicato una bella intervista che ci permette di conoscere meglio questo ottimo trombettista.

Ecco un estratto:
You graduated Berklee, and you teach at the University of Hartford; do you think players of your generation and players younger than yourself are overeducated in some sense? Is it possible to study your way out of being able to swing?
Well, I’d have to say that you’re spot on, in that there is a general amount of over-education. You know, it’s interesting that when you think about it, when all is said and done, jazz record sales in general are always at the bottom of the heap in terms of what’s being bought; the money to be made in jazz is in education. Which is almost funny. But getting more to the point, I do think that there’s an over-education, and that’s to make up for the fact that a lot of the masters are gone. There wasn’t an incubating period like there was in the ’80s, where you could play in Art Blakey’s band or Horace Silver’s band or all these different bands and you’d learn something. That doesn’t exist anymore, and I think my generation, or a few players in my immediate generation, really got the tail end of that. But for the generation after us, that’s completely lost. And that’s unfortunate that, in a sense, they have gone to school, but school can only teach you so much, and what’s really lacking from the schools is a kind of hard-luck education. And that’s what you got from working; it made you or broke you. Because school is a place where you’re coddled a lot. They don’t like to admit it, but it’s like “try this, and try this,” whereas the education that you got playing with the cats was quite different. And when you made it out, you were that much better for it. So a lot of what’s going on from this younger generation, while very interesting stuff no doubt, isn’t as lived-in, I would say, than the [music of the] older but still young veterans that have been through the movers and shakers of the music.
It does seem like there’s this sound of academic jazz around a lot lately—to pick the alto saxophone as an example, there’s more wannabe Steve Colemans than wannabe Cannonball Adderleys.
Yeah, well, one of the things that I find is that it’s a very territorial thing. I travel quite a bit, and using the same instrument, let’s say you go to the Midwest, or middle America, you’re not really going to find many students that are going to sound like a Steve Coleman as much as they’re gonna be sounding like your Charlie Parkers or your Sonny Stitts, if they have a tenacity about them to tackle that. Likewise, if you’re in some parts of Europe, like Italy, you’re gonna have people that more embrace the bebop side, where if you go to Scandinavia, they don’t really have much of a hold on bebop like they used to. They’re looking more towards the avant-garde. So I feel like it’s a territorial thing. If you go to the big cities in the States, New York or Chicago, maybe, then you’ll have a kind of quote-unquote hipper crowd. And hipper doesn’t mean better. It means they’re trying to get in tune with what they think is now.
How did you meet JD Allen and start working together?
I met JD back when I was in college and he was in Betty Carter’s band. Then after that, I moved to New York and he was playing with Winard Harper, and Phil Harper hooked me up with a couple of gigs with Winard’s band, so I got a chance to play with him then, and then we started really recording in 2001, when he made that record Pharaoh’s Children on Criss Cross. Interestingly enough, that was supposed to be my date, and I backed out of it because of some other label interest at the time. I was still in Ralph Peterson’s band at that point, and Ralph was contemplating using JD whenever Jimmy Greene couldn’t make it, and when I backed out of the date, I think Orrin Evans talked Criss Cross into giving the date to JD, and Gerry [Teekens, head of Criss Cross] was like, if I do, you’re gonna have to put Jeremy Pelt on it. So that’s how I ended up on the date. I did a couple of songs, we had a vibe together, and then years later I was called by the drummer Gerald Cleaver to play in his band. I’d never even met Gerald, but I was at a point where I was wanting to branch out and do some things I’d never done before, so I’d started accepting different types of gigs. And with Gerald, he had this band with myself and JD in it, and Gerald and JD go back over 20 years, to their time in Detroit, and so we did a recording with Gerald, and it was a great recording, and I was listening back to it one day, particularly the vibe that Gerald and JD got when they played together. It struck me in a very profound way. And so when I decided to put together my quintet, I called Gerald and I called JD. And that was in 2006 or 2007.
This quintet’s music seems to owe a lot to the Miles Davis quintet of 1965. How do you see this group’s music fitting into the context of 2011, or do you feel you’re creating your own context?
Well, I mean, as a rule I really don’t answer those questions because they’re incriminating. I’d rather hear your thoughts on where you see it....
(continua a leggere l'intervista sul sito originario).

Ecco il video del Jeremy Pelt Quintet che presenta I'm in Love Again live al Jazz ShowCase di Chicago il 24/09/2011:

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