323

Ralph Alessi & This Against That: Look

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Ralph Alessi & This Against That: Look Like the angelic blast of Gabriel's horn, trumpeter Ralph Alessi plays his mortal trumpet with exhilaration and sublime finesse. A popular session player, he has heightened recordings like Scott Colley's Archtiect of the Silent Moment (CamJazz, 2007) and Simone Guiducci's Dancin' Roots (Felmay, 2005).

Alessi's own recordings as a leader—including Vice & Virtue (RKM, 2003) and This Against That/Vice & Virtue (RKM, 2002) —are obscure gems of eclectic music; but Look is an outstanding work of intellect and fire, showing what a progressive trumpeter sounds like without gimmicks or effects. A man, his horn, and a band—complete in its creative element.

Alessi's quartet of leading players includes the unsung, talented pianist Andy Milne and the superb rhythm section of bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber; plus, on four tracks, a special guest: saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. The group is excellent at executing Alessi's eclectic and original pieces and making them enjoyable and seductively challenging.

The leader's strength as a trumpeter is obvious, but another attribute that surfaces is his ability as a composer, which includes a gift for tying disparate threads of jazz, avant-garde, and classical persuasions into a vibrant work of contemporary music. Some tunes are ostensibly simplistic yet harmonically complex, like "Near Cry, where Alessi solos hotly over a tricky vamp. Other times there's a repeating phrase, as on "At the Seams, where Gress and Ferber not only sustain the effervescence but also contribute their own voices.

Alessi's classical background is an asset to the music, adding interesting perspectives on pieces like "Hands, where Milne's piano provides an elegant atmosphere. The music also traverses the unfamiliar on "The Tooth Fairy and Pistol Pete as the band explores a dream-like motif.

Coltrane's saxophone may only appear on four compositions, but his presence is memorable, whether sharing rich harmonies with Alessi's trumpet on "It's Just a Toy, delivering a wonderful solo on "Platform Velvet, or playing the charismatic intro on "Old Beady Eyes.

The title sums it up. Look is an exceptional work by one today's top trumpet players.


Track Listing: Near Cry; It's Just a Toy; At the Seams; Hands; The Tooth Fairy and Pistol Pete; Lap Nap; Brown Hat; Look; Words, Actions; Platform Velvet; Old Beady Eyes; Sir.

Personnel: Ralph Alessi: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andy Milne: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Mark Ferber: drums; Ravi Coltrane: tenor saxophone (2,8,10,11).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Between the Lines | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)" CD/LP/Track Review Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "Live in Japan" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Japan
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Metasediment Rock" CD/LP/Track Review Metasediment Rock
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!