15 Songs, 1 Hour, 11 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Trumpeter and composer Ralph Alessi is well known as a side man: he’s worked with alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, pianist Uri Caine, pianist Fred Hersch, and many others. In 2011 he released Wiry Strong with his quintet, This Against That. The group has a strong lineup: Alessi, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Andy Milne, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Mark Ferber. Alessi’s pieces mix post-bop with free jazz and modernist composition. Wiry Strong also has a series of ensemble-penned interludes: “Clown Painting” and “Pudgy” are eerie, atmospheric efforts, while “Racy Banter” and “Celebrity Golf Classic” toot and clatter in appealing ways. “A Dollar in Your Shoe” swings hard, features nice trumpet work by the leader, and Coltrane’s tenor sax sounds gorgeous. “Mira” finds the group successfully operating in a slow, mellow mode. The album closes with the title cut where Alessi and the rhythm section start things off before Coltrane and Milne enter and enrich the proceedings. The piece is both lush and noisy and that’s a good thing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Trumpeter and composer Ralph Alessi is well known as a side man: he’s worked with alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, pianist Uri Caine, pianist Fred Hersch, and many others. In 2011 he released Wiry Strong with his quintet, This Against That. The group has a strong lineup: Alessi, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Andy Milne, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Mark Ferber. Alessi’s pieces mix post-bop with free jazz and modernist composition. Wiry Strong also has a series of ensemble-penned interludes: “Clown Painting” and “Pudgy” are eerie, atmospheric efforts, while “Racy Banter” and “Celebrity Golf Classic” toot and clatter in appealing ways. “A Dollar in Your Shoe” swings hard, features nice trumpet work by the leader, and Coltrane’s tenor sax sounds gorgeous. “Mira” finds the group successfully operating in a slow, mellow mode. The album closes with the title cut where Alessi and the rhythm section start things off before Coltrane and Milne enter and enrich the proceedings. The piece is both lush and noisy and that’s a good thing.

TITLE TIME
1:05
5:56
1:19
8:07
5:56
1:23
5:37
4:39
5:20
6:51
3:18
1:06
6:35
8:45
5:51

About Ralph Alessi

A strong proponent of the avant-garde jazz scene, trumpeter and occasional bassist Ralph Alessi first began studying classical trumpet with his father. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alessi eventually found freelance jobs with various chamber ensembles as well as work with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. During the mid-'80s Alessi attended the California Institute for the Arts where he studied with bassist Charlie Haden and performed with various jazz luminaries, including saxophonist Bill Perkins and pianist Frank Strazzeri as well as Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra. In 1990, armed with a B.F.A. degree in jazz trumpet performance and an M.F.A. degree in jazz bass performance, Alessi moved to New York City. Since then he has performed with such longtime collaborators as saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Uri Caine, and saxophonist Steve Coleman.

between 2001 and 2013, Alessi recorded ten albums as a leader for a variety of labels including RKM Music, Clean Feed, Between The Lines, CAM Jazz, and Whirlwind. Later that year he signed to Manfred Eicher's ECM label. Baida, his debut there, won wide acclaim for its imaginative compositions. He co-led a date for Babel entitled Sugar Blade with Steve Davis and Kris Davis in 2015, and delivered Quiver, his sophomore ECM offering with his quartet--Nasheet Waits, Drew Gress and Gary Versace in early 2016. ~ Matt Collar

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