How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The jazz community welcomes trumpeter Ralph Alessi's keen compositional and superior technical skills. As a solo artist and first-call session ace, Alessi is adept at fusing disparate jazz-related styles into a singular voice. With his Cam Jazz debut, the trumpeter executes a diverse, polytonal environ, featuring laudable and like-minded jazz instrumentalistsa band that spins a symmetrical panorama, touched with rhythmic complexities and memorable hooks.
"Duel" is underpinned with a loping funk-rock groove, augmented by Alessi's off-kilter and, at times, quirky phrasings. The trumpeter tosses a few delightful curve balls into the mix by rendering angular unison choruses with pianist Jason Moran
, leading to a spunky ostinato vamp. With the musicians conjuring notions of a friendly duel (if there is such a thing), Alessi proclaims a few bars of yearning story lines to contrast an album that offers an open-air set of musical events, intermixed with sinuous metrics, chutzpah and temperance.
Personnel: Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Drew Gress: double-bass; Jason Moran: piano; Nasheet Waits: drums.