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Ralph Alessi: Imaginary Friends

Read "Imaginary Friends" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Ever leading the avant-garde, trumpeter Ralph Alessi has never been pressed for future-forward ideas or the time to express them in whatever setting best suits the music. Not counting his prodigious work alongside such leading figures as Fred Hersch, Don Byron, and Steve Coleman, in this tumultuous century alone Alessi has led and released such challenging works as This Against That (RKM, 2002), the blazing Cognitive Dissonance (Cam Jazz, 2010) with Jason Moran, his ECM debut Badia (2013), and the ...

RADIO

Ralph Alessi & This Against That featuring Ravi Coltrane Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam

Read "Ralph Alessi & This Against That featuring Ravi Coltrane Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam" reviewed by BIMHUIS

For the first installment of BIMHUIS Radio on All About Jazz we present the full recording of the recent concert by Ralph Alessi & This Against That featuring Ravi Coltrane held at BIMHUIS on 18 May 2018. Describing Ralph Alessi's trumpet playing is like describing his compositions: clear of sound and structure and simultaneously full of ingenuity and expertise. This gives him room for adventure and innovation and that's what This Against That is all about. In this ...

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Ralph Alessi: Quiver

Read "Quiver" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Quiver finds trumpeter Ralph Alessi and his quartet in a lyrical, reflective mood. Alessi describes the atmosphere in the recording studio as “pensive," a quality that imbues this music. The group includes most of the players from Alessi's acclaimed ECM leader debut Baida (2013). Drew Gress (double-bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums) return, with Gary Versace taking the piano chair in place of Jason Moran. Tempting to ascribe the differences between the two sessions to the pianists, but I think it ...

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Ralph Alessi: Baida

Read "Baida" reviewed by John Kelman

With 2013 heading into fall, it's a good time to take stock of a label that has all too often been (falsely) accused of minimizing the country where jazz began. Excluding reissues, this year's ECM regular series releases represent about thirty percent American leadership; given jazz's increasingly global nature, hardly a bad number--and better still, when considering ECM's qualitative consistency. From Chris Potter's impressive label debut as a leader, The Sirens, to Craig Taborn's boundary-stretching Chants, and Steve Swallow's career-defining ...

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Ralph Alessi and This Against That: Wiry Strong

Read "Wiry Strong" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Born out of the jazz laboratory of Brooklyn's M-Base experiments of the 1990s, trumpeter Ralph Alessi has always seemed to be a farouche player. Never hankering for the spotlight, he always seems satisfied to turn in solid deliberate efforts that don't court flattery. Maybe it is his subtle nature, but what some might have missed has always been picked up by his fellow musicians. He has been called upon by the likes of Fred Hersch, Uri Caine, Jason Moran, Don ...

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Ralph Alessi: Cognitive Dissonance

Read "Cognitive Dissonance" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 instrumentalists--a 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, ...

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Ralph Alessi: Cognitive Dissonance

Read "Cognitive Dissonance" reviewed by John Kelman

For his Cam Jazz debut, trumpeter Ralph Alessi recruits two key players from his sadly overlooked Look (Between the Lines, 2007). But while ubiquitous bassist Drew Gress (Marc Copland, Claudia Quintet) is a mainstay of Cognitive Dissonance, pianist Andy Milne only guests on the knottily themed but swinging “Sir" and a quirkily, near-unrecognizable version of Stevie Wonder's “Same Old Story." The rest of the album's fifteen tracks--eleven by Alessi, in addition to a free-spirited yet surprisingly lyrical version of Sam ...

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Ralph Alessi & This Against That: Look

Read "Look" reviewed by J Hunter

Is it possible to be structured and free at the same time? If you say “No, then you need to take a long look at Look, the latest release from Ralph Alessi & This Against .Alessi's airy horn was a key component of the boundary-stretching Uri Caine Ensemble Plays Mozart (Winter & Winter, 2007). Look shows Alessi is out to expand his personal artistic frontiers as well as create an atmosphere where his partners can make their own voices heard. ...

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Ralph Alessi & This Against That: Look

Read "Look" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell

An integral part of projects led by pianist Uri Caine and saxophonists Steve Coleman and Ravi Coltrane since the early '90s, and a founder of the School for Improvised Music (SIM), trumpeter Ralph Alessi nevertheless remains under the radar. Look, just his fourth release as a leader, convincingly counters this oversight. Alessi is a modernist who uses expanded forms, complex rhythms and a broad harmonic spectrum to explore the confluence of composition and improvisation. But the music ...

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Ralph Alessi & This Against That: Look

Read "Look" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

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 ...

INTERVIEWS

Ralph Alessi: Enjoying Musical Possibilities

Read "Ralph Alessi:  Enjoying Musical Possibilities" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Being a trumpet player in New York City can be a daunting occupation. The city is full of monster musicians and there is competition for gigs among bands, and among individuals. Jazz musicians are a tight community, but it's still a survival game.

But Ralph Alessi, a Big Apple resident for about the last 15 years, is thriving -- busy making music of his own, with his own bands, that is esoteric and invigorating, and landing gigs with ...

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Ralph Alessi: Vice & Virtue

Read "Vice & Virtue" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Two of the inaugural three releases on RKM Music rely on the talents of Ralph Alessi, which all things considered bodes very well for the new label. The three letters in the label's name embody the first initials of executive producer Ravi Coltrane, his wife Kathleen Hennessy, and reedman Michael McGinnis. But their stated goal is to place control over recording solely in the hands of the artists.

Vice & Virtue proudly displays the talents of drummer Shane Endsley alongside ...


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