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George Colligan: Isolation

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If the word “isolation” strikes you as a less than enticing title for a CD devoted to solo piano performances, some of the original pieces George Colligan has chosen for this collection-“Dead of Winter,” “Lonely Wind,” “Regret,” for starters-don’t exactly promise a sunny day in the park, either.

Still, on his 20th recording as a leader, Colligan creates a series of absorbing and multi-faceted vignettes. More often than not they possess a meditative quality. Melodies are introduced (and often sustained) in free time, resonating chords and chromatic flashes punctuate harmonically ambiguous passages, and spacious designs allow plenty of opportunities for Colligan to display his contemplative side, improvisatory prowess and beautifully honed technique. There are, however, bright and charming moments amid the soulful musings; Exhibit A being the quirky waltz “Simple Pleasures.” By contrast, “The Wrong Stuff” is a haunting, noirish portrait.

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