It is only natural that Jeremy Pelt's voracious curiosity would lead him to investigate the West African Griot tradition where stories, reminiscences and accomplishments from times past are handed down as oral histories. Researchers such as Art Taylor, William Russell and Alan Lomax have preserved interviews with older jazzmen but for his Griot odyssey, Pelt turns to his own peer group to record their thoughts on creating jazz, playing jazz and experiencing the life of a jazz musician of color in our own time. Each brief interview is followed by a composition by Pelt which perfectly captures the sentiments and emotions of its spoken-word prelude. To help him bring his vision to life, Pelt has assembled a hand-picked group of colleagues, featuring vibraphonist Chien Chien Lu, pianist Victor Gould, bassist Vicente Archer, harpist Brandee Younger and others. The tunes themselves run the gamut from the remarkable mixing of the sacred and the secular in "Carry Christ Wherever You Are," to the Monk-like gallumphing opening unison in "Don't Dog the Source," and the urgent, "Underdog." As Pelt himself says, "I want people to understand that this is for everybody," that the project was undertaken to perhaps help them "understand that whatever they might be going through, their perspectives might run parallel to those of people who are generations apart from them. Maybe, to a certain extent, these younger people will find themselves in these stories."
JEREMY PELT, trumpet • Chien Chien Lu, vibraphone • Victor Gould, piano, nord keyboard • Vicente Archer, bass • Allan Mednard, drums • Ismel Wignall, percussion • Brandee Younger, harp
TRACKS: Griot - Intro (music with commentary) • Words by Paul West (spoken) • Carry Christ Wherever You Are • Words by Larry Willis (spoken) • Underdog (Instrumental) • Words by JD Allen (spoken) • Don't Dog The Source (Instrumental) • Words by Bertha Hope (spoken) • A Seat At The Table (music with commentary) • Words by Harold Mabern (spoken; explicit content) • Solidarity (Instrumental) • Words by René Marie • A Beautiful (f*cking) Lie • In Spite Of"... (words by Warren Smith) (music with commentary; explicit content) • Words by Ambrose Akinmusire (spoken) • Relevance (Instrumental)
Don't Dog the Source
A Seat at the Table