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Published: 2013/09/28
by Ron Hart

Ralph Alessi
Baida

ECM

16 years ago, NYC trumpet great Ralph Alessi made his only appearance on an ECM title when he sat in with pianist Michael Cain on his 1997 effort Circa. But in 2013 Alessi makes his long-awaited debut as a bandleader for the famed Munich label with the release of Baida, a strange and beautiful post-bop set sure to intrigue longtime listeners and challenge newbies to take the plunge into his bottomless horn.

Working alongside an absolute monster of a group in pianist Jason Moran, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Nasheet Waits, Alessi takes what he’s learned in session with such modern giants as Steve Coleman, Uri Caine, Ravi Coltrane and Don Byron and brings that same sense of improvised exploration to his own suite of jams. Compositions like “Chuck Barris”, “Shank” and “Throwing Like A Girl” rise from the speakers into the air like Miles Davis’s Dark Magus ensemble going acoustic and bringing it back to the modal days just for fun.

Baida is cool school city jazz custom crafted for a satisfying night of drinking and thinking. Manfred Eicher should be proud to say he finally has a Ralph Alessi album in his catalog.

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