Born on November 4, 1976 in Southern California, Pelt first began playing the trumpet in elementary school, focusing on classical studies. However, it was not until joining his high school jazz band that he became strongly interested in changing directions and pursuing jazz full-time. This led to studying jazz improvisation and film scoring at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he earned his B.A. in professional music. Since graduating from college, Pelt has performed and/or recorded with some of the jazz world's most high-profile players, including Roy Hargrove, Ravi Coltrane, Greg Osby, Cassandra Wilson, and the Mingus Big Band, among others. He released his solo debut, Profile, for Fresh Sound in 2002. A year later, Pelt returned with Insight on Criss Cross. From 2003 to 2008, he released several albums for Maxjazz, including Close to My Heart, Identity, Shock Value: Live at Smoke, and November, all of which showcased his growing facility on the trumpet and penchant for progressive, harmonically adventurous post-bop and modal jazz.
In 2010, Pelt moved to High Note and released the mid-'60s Miles Davis-influenced Men of Honor. Sticking with the same ensemble, Pelt released the similarly inclined The Talented Mr. Pelt in 2011, followed by Soul in 2012. The album was celebrated by several magazines and music websites as one of the finest jazz albums of the year. Pelt then returned with two funk, Brazilian, and electronic-infused releases with 2013's Water and Earth and 2014's Face Forward, Jeremy.
In 2015, Pelt delivered his 12th studio album, Tales, Musings, and Other Reveries, which featured his two-drummer quintet with percussionists Billy Drummond and Victor Lewis. For 2016's #Jiveculture, Pelt returned to a more straight-ahead acoustic quartet format featuring Drummond, pianist Danny Grissett, and legendary bassist Ron Carter. Small group acoustic jazz and Afro-Latin rhythms were were also the focus for 2017's Make Noise!, featuring pianist Victor Gould, bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Jonathan Barber, and percussionist Jacquelene Acevedo. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi