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What a strange, compelling, often circuitous trip Three-Part Odyssey is. Pianist/composer/bandleader Rich Pellegrin has collected a youthful quintet of Seattle's boldest and most energetic musicians for his debut CD73 minutes of audacious grooves inside a set of freewheeling compositions that showcase each band member's individual virtuosic prowess without abandoning the collective mood.
Along with the leader, three of the quintet's members contribute to the songwriting, starting off with trumpeter R. Scott Morning's labyrinthine "Part 1: Nothing Comes To Mind," a 12-minute journey within the CD's larger odyssey that begins sounding like a dark-hued and slightly warped vehicle that trumpeter Lee Morgan
' hypnotic groove. Then Pellegrin comes in for an extended trio segment that shifts from robotic interludes to brightly melodic passages, evolving toward freedom. The groove returns, leading into tenor saxophonist Neil Welch
Flory-Barnes' contemplative ballad, "Distant, Distorted, You," showcases a lucid saxophone/trumpet conversation over Pellegrin's repeated, machine-like chords. Morning's "Obtusity" closes out the first part of Three Part Odyssey, the trumpeter blowing relaxed, elastic lines over the rhythm section's roiling turbulence before he cranks things into an atmosphere of agitation, biting off short, choppy,razor-sharp notes that fly out over the edge.
When a jazz quintet is composed of young players tagged as "forward-looking," that often means musicians trying to sound like trumpeter Miles Davis
' second great quintet. It's a trap that Pellegrin and his band avoid, with a soundwith its multiple songwriting voicesthat's remarkably original, the playing often fierce and stormy, at other times restrained and unabashedly beautiful. Pellegrin seems to have multiple influences, displaying at times the density and drive and penchant for repetition of pianist McCoy Tyner