Editors’ Notes Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt is known for making hard-hitting original music with inordinately gifted peers, but The Art of Intimacy, Vol. 1 finds him in a pared-down trio setting, playing mainly ballad standards with two older master musicians: pianist George Cables (mid-seventies) and bassist Peter Washington (mid-fifties). Pelt, nearing his mid-forties at this point, has matured into the kind of player who can pull this off: a restrained, intimate setting without drums, reminiscent of nights at the celebrated Lower Manhattan club Bradley’s back in the day. Cables was among the elite piano greats who performed there, and his playing here is undimmed, big in sound, and effortless in swing.
After Pelt’s own “Love Is Simple” leads off, the trio takes up standard repertoire and does it just right on “Little Girl Blue,” “Then I’ll Be Tired of You,” and “Always on My Mind” (the one by Green and Newell, not to be confused with Willie Nelson’s hit). “While You Are Gone,” by the unheralded bop tenorist Lucky Thompson, is an unexpected ballad gem. And then there are the duos: Cables’ “Ebony Moonbeams,” a trumpet-piano foray with elegant modern harmony and a stealthy odd-meter pulse; “Ab-o-lutely,” a trumpet-bass blues throwdown in B-flat, as casual and spontaneous as it is intense; and finally “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” by Brodszky & Cahn, which brings The Art of Intimacy, Vol. 1 to a moving, ruminative close.