In my job, I’m lucky to receive mountains of world-class music in my inboxes–both digital and physical–day in and day out. It’s beautiful, receiving all this music, but it becomes important to use shorthand to seek out the truly high quality stuff as a matter of efficiency.
Jeremy Pelt, a celebrated trumpeter based out of New York City, always bubbles to the top of my list when a new release under his name comes to my attention. He’s a masterful writer, and one of those artists who seems to truly strategize a new presentation every time. I haven’t heard him repeat himself, and I’ve heard him a lot. Label-wise, I’d certainly say the same thing for the Cellar Music Group out of Vancouver, Canada. Cory Weeds has been the leader of the Cellar Music Group since their inception, and the brand has become synonymous with musician-centric releases from elite players who are often well-known among musicians, but deserve that extra push to make their way to the top of the jazz conversation. Weeds and Pelt have known each other for quite some time as fellow musicians and through Pelt’s recordings for the Cellar label. I give you all this background to credential these two gentlemen as top-shelf names in the jazz world. In the past couple of years, these two have come together in a more purposeful way than they ever have before.
Since late 2020, Cellar has endeavored to release more records featuring Black leaders, inspired by Weeds taking a look at his label’s catalog shortly after the murder of George Floyd and noticing a lack of Black-led albums. This led Weeds to reach out to Jeremy Pelt for help connecting with Black artists, getting them into the studio, and releasing their work. In the liner notes to Jason Marshall’s spectacular effort New Beginnings, Jeremy Pelt wrote the following:
“Contrary to opinion, jazz has always reflected the times. Sadly, again, we are bearing witness to the racial injustice in the United States, wherein Black peoples’ lives are constantly at risk, even by those sworn to protect its citizens.”
It was through reading these liner notes that I felt compelled to reach out to Jeremy Pelt and Cory Weeds and find out more about their mission. Check out our conversation below! – Sean McPherson
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