By Willard Manus
Electric is the key word when describing trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and his band, Wired. Not only do he and his musicians--Frank LoCrasto, keyboard; Gavin Fallow, bass; Dana Hawkins, drums; Al Street, guitar--utilize electrified instruments (except Pelt, who plays an acoustic horn through electronic tone-altering circuits),
but they zap the listener with their fire and intensity.
Pelt is only in his early 30s but has already won awards, played with the likes of Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Short, written film scores, and taught at NYU. Now this musical prodigy has released his third album, SHOCK VALUE (MaxJazz), which was recorded live at NYC's upscale club, Smoke. In a recent L.A. appearance at the Jazz Bakery, Pelt played several tunes from the CD and showed, in convincing fashion, why he is regarded as one of the jazz world's rising stars.
In the opening piece, Circular, Pelt let bass and drums put down a driving, aggressive beat that he soon came in over, propelling the number with jet-enginelike torque and power.
A slow Blues followed, made distinctive by his poetic, deeply felt soloing, which was then matched by Street and LoCastro on their respective electronic instruments.
At all times at the Bakery and on the CD, Felt's band played in a fresh, youthful way, sometimes going straight ahead, other times splitting off on tangents and coming up with sounds that were ethereal, even otherworldly--only to come back to earth with a funky zestiness and cheekiness. In all, a five-star effort.