Photo credit: Jimmy Ryan (from jeremypelt.com)
Jeremy Pelt will be performing the music from the 2003 album ‘Close to My Heart’ at Kings Place on April 18th, as part of the Global Music Foundation London Jazz Workshop and Music Festival. Sebastian interviewed him by email:
Sebastian Scotney : You grew up in California. What was the scene like when you were growing up ? What drew you to music?
Jeremy Pelt: To be perfectly honest, though I did grow up in LA, I was not part of the scene out there. I was just starting to get interested in Jazz when I was in highschool.. By the time I considered that I might be good at it, I was off to college. What drew me to the music was the energy and feel of it.
SS: How old were you when you began to take music seriously?
JP: I began taking music seriously at a VERY young age. Around 11 or 12.
SS: When did you start leading groups?
JP: I’ve always lead groups since I can remember. Even in high school.
SS: Then Berklee. Which teacher or fellow student has left the biggest imprint on you?
JP: The teachers that taught me the most in Berklee were Charlie Lewis (my trumpet instructor) and Ron Mahdi (bassist and ensemble teacher)
SS: Then New York. Was the Mingus Big Band significant? how did you first get involved?
JP: Mingus Band was very significant in that I was able to meet and network with the very best cats on the scene. The band was like a pool of the top names on the scene. Trumpeter Philip Harper got me in the band. Whilst there, I met Vincent Herring, who introduced me to Louis Hayes, and then that’s how THAT ball got rolling. So, the Mingus Band was definitely significant.
SS: You’ve mentioned Eddie Henderson as an influence. Can you encapsulate what he brought you?
JP: Eddie, by way of music, taught me to listen to the space in the music. Also, articulation.
SS: Miles leaves a huge shadow for anyone playing the trumpet. Is there a period/style from his playing which particularly drew you in when you were starting out?
JP: Initially, Miles’ early 60s period (w/ Hank Mobley, et al) was the reason that I got into the music. Then I worked outwards from there, both ways !
SS: Who in is your current group?
JP: My current group, The Jeremy Pelt Show, features tenor saxophonist, Roxy Coss; David Bryant- Fender Rhodes; Chris Smith- electric bass and Dana Hawkins- drums. Our latest CD is called “Face Forward, Jeremy”..
SS: ‘Close to My Heart’ – where does the idea come from to revisit the material of your 2003 album?
JP: I believe the idea for the “Close to my heart” reboot came from either Stephen Keogh or David O’Rourke (who did the arrangements).
SS: Does it have a special place among your albums for you?
JP: Yes it DOES have a special place in my collection. It’s a mantle piece of sorts. It is an album about telling stories. I recorded that CD when I was 26 years old. I hadn’t done THAT much living relative to now, but I was able to pull it off somehow. If I were to record the CD now, it would sound completely different. Not better, but perhaps more honest according to life lived.
SS: I ‘m particularly looking forward to Jimmy Rowles’ 502 Blues and wonder if you know/ knew him in California?
JP: Never knew Jimmy Rowles, but I enjoyed the story about “502 Blues” (502 being the penal code for drink driving in California- hence the blues)
SS: What are the stories behind ‘Pioggia de Perugia’ and ‘Take Me in Your Arms ‘
JP: Pioggia di Perugia (The rain in Perugia) is a song written by pianist Eric Reed. I thought it would be a nice addition to the CD. Take me in your arms is an old standard, and I got it from Red Garland’s “Red’s Good Groove”.
SS: Does London hold any particular significance or good memories for you? ?
Jeremy Pelt: London, has long been one of my favorite places to visit. It only saddens me from time to time that I don’t get there as often as I used to. I used to play Ronnie Scotts at least 3 times a year, and I felt like part of a continuing history of that club. I enjoyed getting to know the old door staff and finally, Pete King. Nevertheless, I remain excited at any chance to visit London and to play for the jazz fans there.
– Kings Place Hall One. Friday 18th April, 7 30 pm
– Jeremy Pelt with Global Arts Chamber Orchestra plays ‘Close to my Heart’
Jeremy Pelt trumpet – Bruce Barth piano – Duncan Hopkins bass – Stephen Keogh drums
Global Arts Ensemble Chamber Orchestra | David O’Rourke conductor
– In a double bill with Tina May, Guillermo Rozenthuler and the London Filmharmonic (cond. Raphael Hurwitz, performing ‘Musica Paradiso.’ songs and stories of the Silver Screen.