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ECM Records

CD ECM Records Ralph Alessi: Baida

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Prezentare generala CD ECM Records Ralph Alessi: Baida


Ralph Alessi - trompeta
Jason Moran - pian
Drew Gress - contrabas
Nasheet Waits - tobe

There are magic moments when an artist can be said to have well and truly “arrived.” For Ralph Alessi, the release of Baida – his ECM debut as a bandleader – is just such a moment, despite his already extensive resume. Among those in the know, Alessi is renowned as a musician’s musician, a first-call New York trumpeter who can play virtually anything on sight and has excelled as an improviser in groups led by Steve Coleman, Uri Caine, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch and Don Byron, as well as leading his own bands. But Alessi has created something breathtaking with Baida, an album sure to beguile a wider audience with its atmospheric depth and melodic allure. To voice his suite of compositions, the trumpeter has convened a powerhouse New York band with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Nasheet Waits. As a vessel for the album’s seemingly bottomless lyricism, this quartet of virtuosos plays with extraordinary finesse; but there is also a tensile strength emanating from the performances, a muscularity that one can feel. Then there is the silver of Alessi’s trumpet tone; as The New York Times has said, it has “a rounded luminescence, like the moon in full phase.”

Image result for ralph alessi

On these 10 pieces he sounds quietly wired and fascinated by what his partners are firing at him, while not remotely detached from his signature virtues of tonal purity and unflustered invention. All the pieces are his, from the initially free-fluttering title track with its soft trumpet doodles over slow-moving piano and percussion, through the delicately prancing ‘Chuck Barris’, to the weaving ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ with its shivery snare-drum tattoo and prodding piano lines. Moran is as attuned to his surroundings as ever, Gress and Waits keep the pressure up but not the volume, and occasionally the whole set sounds eerily like the mid-60s Miles Davis quintet reinvented as a shyly slinky, contemporary-cool-jazz tribute.
John Fordham, The Guardian

In other truly creative bout of recording sessions, Baida sees the release of another debut recording for a new artist to the ECM roster with trumpeter Ralph Alessi bringing his unique and haunting trumpet sound to the label, and a powerhouse New York rhythm section to compliment it.
Baida features ten original compositions from the trumpeter, with the opening title track being
reprised to close the disc, and displays a remarkable range of melodic and rhythmic variety without out ever losing sight of the overall mood and sound created by the superb and sympathetic quartet assembled. [...] Alessi’s trumpet sound can be by turns full and brassy, or move to extreme fragility and tenderness, whether playing open or using the harmon mute. His ballad playing is quite breath taking on ‘Sanity’ and on the beautiful and poignant ‘Maria Lydia’ for his mother who passed away shortly after the album was completed. [...] This is a remarkably assured release from Alessi, who is proving to be a most commanding and compelling player and composer, and this is hopefully just the beginning of a long and fruitful tenure with ECM.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views

Alessi’s angular and atmospheric compositions are strong in melody, dart at angles and, like the leader’s warm, tightly focused trumpet, have a playful edge. [...] Bold interplay and great solos from Alessi and pianist Jason Moran, and flawless support from Drew Gress and Nasheet Waits on bass and drums. Highly recommended.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

Trumpeter Alessi’s debut for ECM brings together four masters of the New York scene on a set of original compositions that offer plenty of room to showcase their creativity. [...] With Alessi’s imaginative writing for the ensemble and virtuoso trumpet playing that has made him one of the most in demand sidemen in US jazz, this is a dream team recording representing a highwater mark of the current American mainstream.
Cormac Larkin, Irish Times

Alessi’s tunes, such as ‘Shank,’ are usually on the move from the very first notes. His compositions are flexible rather than tightly organized, yet their initial statements, whether by Alessi alone or in duet with the bass, as in ‘Shank,’ are strong enough to dominate even the freest group improvisations that follow. I am intrigued by his titles, as well as by the unexpected intervals and insistent shapes of his compositions: ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ is a surprisingly sober tune introduced by bassist Gress. Waits’ martial drums, looming under the long tones and scalar passages of the muted trumpet, played here in unison with Moran, seem to defy the cocky nature of the boyhood insult. The disc is full of surprises, yet Baida is marked by Alessi’s consistently strong compositional ideas and arrangements. This band has an undeviating vision: Baida seems to me to be a triumph of rock solid character.
Michael Ullman, The Arts Fuse

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