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Jeremy Pelt - 'Make Noise!'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Every year, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt releases a new album on the High Note label and I look forward to it each year, almost more than I do Christmas. Like any artist, he tweaks the formula each time, finding new ways to make music and express logistically his ideas, seeing what he can make with different tools. Sometimes it'll be through electric instruments; sometimes through two drummers in different audio channels; sometimes it'll be through not using a saxophonist in the group, leaving him to bring the only horn to the group. This time out, he went with the latter, along with the lovely textured addition of Jacquelene Acevedo's percussion to make his 2017 entry, Make Noise!, yet another fine addition to Jeremy Pelt's body of work.

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Dr. MiNT - 'Voices in the Void'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Weird happens. It happens all over the place. It happens in nature, it happens in society, it happens most certainly in art. Weirdness definitely happens in jazz, even moreso when the instruments are electric. Dr. MiNT -- the decade-old quintet of trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom, saxophonist Gavin Templeton, guitarist Alexander Noice, bassist Sam Minaie, and drummer Caleb Dolister -- is most certainly in the weird category. Their latest album, Voices in the Void, is proof of this.

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KADAWA - 's/t'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

KADAWA -- the trio of guitarist Tal Yahalom, bassist Almog Sharvit, and drummer Ben Silashi -- are a very good guitar trio, like jarringly good. They describe themselves as an "experimental-rock-jazz trio", because that may have been the best net to cast over their sound. They're certainly jazz and of this era, they're full of energy and have a multitude of things to say.

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Matt Mayhall - 'Tropes'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Tropes is an easy ride of an album. It hums along as shifting mood pieces. Drummer/composer Matt Mayhall in his debut release has made a particularly chill album that isn't attempting to impose but is very free to emote. In doing so, the album feels much like a film score, backing moments one could easily imagine and frame.

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Aleif Hamdan - 'Emblem'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Youthfulness is pretty easily recognizable in work. Sometimes it comes through in a roughness. Sometimes, it comes through in an antsiness, as if the boundless energy that comes with youth just can't be contained. Sometimes, it comes through in a need to impress. This young person has ideas that he or she has learned recently and this young person wants to make sure we're getting all the references. These qualities often shine through in debut releases, particularly from trained jazz musicians. A polish is present only because there's so much newness, there isn't much grit to polish away. These attributes can be seen as flaws just as much as they can be seen as strengths, the early promising notes of talent and training that only wait for time. To some degree, it's still the marvel to witness. One can hear this all over guitarist Aleif Hamdan's debut album, Emblem.