The Rich Pellegrin Quintet explores improvisational freedom within the confines of compositional structures on Three-Part Odyssey
, the ensemble's debut for OA2 Records. For this project, Pellegrin, a Seattle-based pianist, took special consideration in choosing band members who could meet specific technical demands while wandering confidently in a musical landscape of wide-open space. As the title suggests, the disc is divided into three parts, each consisting of individual pieces, seemingly unrelated. There is, however, cohesion throughout the recording, with each tune expressing some sort of thematic simplicity, whether it is a short melodic fragment, an ostinato pattern, or a repeated harmonic sequence, followed by impressive soloing.
As soloists, each member of the quintet demonstrates an ability to shape long, well-told stories with an intense mix of patience and bravado. The dynamic and contrasting personalities of Pellegrin, tenor saxophonist Neil Welch and trumpeter R. Scott Morning help to maintain interest from start to finish. Some standout moments include Morning's bold Freddie Hubbard-isms on "Marruecos," Pellegrin's reckless abandon on "Nothing Comes to Mind" and Welch's creative wailing on "Breathe."
Bassist Evan Flory-Barnes holds court on "Breath" and "Pastiche" with flowing lyricism. Drummer Chris Icasiano provides a consistent spark. With Three-Part Odyssey
, Pellegrin and company achieve cordial musical connections that are progressive and intense.