Jeremy Pelt's Griot Reveals the Personal Side of Jazz History

Featuring interviews with jazz greats from Bertha Hope to Robert Glasper, Pelt's new book shows how personal history is cultural history.

April 5, 2021

It’s not unusual to speak about jazz music’s storytelling abilities. But then there are musicians, like acclaimed trumpeter Jeremy Pelt B.M. '98, who consider handing down the story of jazz to be part of the genre's calling. In his new book, Griot: Examining the Lives of Jazz’s Great Storytellers, Pelt shares interviews with jazz musicians whose careers span from the 1950s to the present day, including the likes of Paul West, Bertha Hope, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ambrose Akinmusire, and many others. Alongside the book, Pelt also released Griot: This Is Important!, a companion album of original compositions inspired by some of the conversations in the book.

In this episode, Pelt talks about what moved him to take on this project, and shares highlights from some of his interviews. He also takes a moment to reflect on the legacy of beloved drummer and faculty member Ralph Peterson Jr., who recently passed away. Take a listen.

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Media referenced:

Produced by Bryan Parys
Engineered by Georgia Parker*
Theme music by Sleeping Lion

*The episode credits Rodrigo Martins as the engineer, but due to a change after recording, the episode's engineer is Georgia Parker.

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