Rich Pellegrin: Solitude: Solo Improvisations (OA2 Records, 2021)

April 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Rich Pellegrin: Solitude: Solo Improvisations

Rich Pellegrin’s last album was performed with the quintet he’s been playing with for a decade, with one piece performed by a contemporary classical ensemble from the University of Missouri. His newest release, however, consists entirely of solo piano improvisations recorded in a church in Washington. The majority of them are brief, encountering a momentary idea and then expressing it and letting it be. Many of them resist easy patterns or melodies and sort of exist in their own space, but a few are more contemplative and have a radiant glow, like “Improvisation VII” and “XV”, and these are some of the standout pieces. “XI” is particularly inspired, lasting a towering 6 minutes and having an almost heroic sort of drive without hammering you with pomposity. “XXIV” hints at a darker mood, but also not in an overbearing way that brings the listener down. I also appreciate how the final piece sounds like a clear ending, a definite “that’s it”.

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