If there's a heartstring that can be pulled by the sound of smooth toe-tapping jazz, Jeremy Pelt's passionate trumpet playing will find a way to tug at it. After all, he's been honing his craft since he was five years old. Pelt plays the Oxford Hotel Nov. 23 and 24 and, at those shows, Bendites will find out what 30 years of dedication to an instrument can produce.
Pelt is known as a neo-jazz musician. There is a lot of technical brilliance to his sound, but he doesn't rely on traditional jazz standards to advance his music. He is continually trying to move jazz toward new wave beats that rely on emotion rather than strict adherence to vintage mechanics. On his latest album Soul, Pelt even takes song titles far from what's normal for the genre.
The second track "The Ballad of Ichabod Crane" finds Pelt relying on the Jeremy Pelt Band to nuance jazz into the literary realm. The song opens with a subdued piano and upright bass duet before Pelt enters with the lifting sound of his trumpet. As the piano and bass turn semi-chaotic—in a perfect ode to the story of the Headless Horseman—Pelt's trumpet resists following suit, remaining stoic and even turning a bit sad. The result is a dark jazz song with off-beat be-bop that is hypnotic.
It's the kind of music that, according to Pelt, he wouldn't be able to do on his own.
"As a musician and a band leader you can only do so much yourself," said Pelt in a phone interview with the Source. "You rely on other people's energies and points of view. Everybody always thinks that they know better as a musician. You think 'I wish I could go play the drums the way I hear them in my head,' but you need another point of view contrary to yours to create the best music."
Pelt—who is currently not on tour—is coming out West specifically for these three performances at The Oxford. And while he won't be with his usual cast of characters, he says the shows will be special, nonetheless.
"I'm traveling over there as a solo artist and playing with a local rhythm band," said Pelt. "What you're going to get is a night of music at its highest level. An evening of feel good music."
8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23
5 p.m. & 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24
The Oxford Hotel, 10 NW Minnesota Ave.
Tickets $49 at www.bendticket.com