The strength and inventiveness of pianist and educator Rich Pellegrin's new project are concealed in his music's natural inclination toward melody. The tried and tested quintet moves with agility and cohesion. Seven tracks written by the American pianist testify to the percussive approach to the keyboard and the attention paid to the totality of his quintet: timbre and interplay have more importance than the individual.
Built, as the pianist reminds us in the cover notes, upon a harmonic structure that recalls the form of Giant Steps by Coltrane, "Down" proceeds by slowly unveiling a splendid and mysterious vein with a piano that privileges masterly chords, drums and saxophone that forge an ideal background, in particular Welch's growls. The piece features the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, composed of wind, strings, and percussion. This results in a dramatic and mysterious atmosphere which enhances the structure of the piece.
"Trial" is certainly a complete track in which Pellegrin's style gushes forth with a decidedly muscular and percussive solo; the right hand seeks out unsettling melodies and the left counterpoints with brilliantly sonorous chords. Speed, dynamism, and a strong sense of swing permeate the entire motif with Welch launching himself into a long solo of an almost material carnal sonority.
"Birthright" has a modal atmosphere that allows the track to unwind slowly and that furnishes the individual musicians with a greater expressive freedom. Trumpet and double bass gift us long and significant solos.
In "Acceptance" the compositional skill and careful use of progressions can be fully grasped. Down signals the full maturity of a pianist in whom freedom and compositional rigor combine perfectly with the vigor and creativity of Pellegrin and his quintet.
Translated from Italian