Ralph Alessi was born in San Rafael, CA, the son of classical trumpeter Joe Alessi. But after taking degrees in jazz trumpet and bass—he studied under the legendary Charlie Haden at CalArts—he lit out for New York, where he swiftly became an ubiquitous presence on the downtown scene and a leading figure in jazz education.
Alessi's longest apprenticeship as a sideman was in various ensembles led by alto saxophonist and “M-Base” founder Steve Coleman, but he’s also been a frequent collaborator with the likes of Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, Uri Caine, Fred Hersch, James Carney, Jason Moran, Drew Gress, Scott Colley, Dafnis Prieto and Brad Shepik—most of whom have also played and recorded in Alessi’s own groups.
As a bandleader in his own right, Alessi has recorded six ( is out just now Cognitive Dissonance ) albums of originals which draw on everything from post-bop to neo-classical, while deftly treading—and occasionally crossing—the line between “inside” and “outside” jazz. Ralph prefers simply to think of his tunes as “organic”: he uses whatever fits his needs, including expanded forms, complex rhythms, and a broad harmonic spectrum, to explore the confluence of composition and improvisation. Jazz Times called his writing “as clean and airy and sophisticated and disciplined as post-modern progressive jazz gets” and named the group's debut outing one of the ten best recordings of 2002, while All About Jazz dubbed its 2007 follow-up Look “an outstanding work of intellect and fire.”
Although Alessi is an adjunct faculty member at NYU, his most significant achievement as an educator may be founding and directing Brooklyn’s School for Improvisational Music (SIM), which is playing an influential role in the development of jazz’s next generation. Instructors at the school constitute an all-star lineup of prominent jazz progressives, but what really distinguishes SIM is what jazz writer Chinen describes as its “determined spirit of collectivity”: the school’s mission statement asserts that “Students (through their own experiences together) can learn a great deal for and from themselves and needn’t always wait passively for instructors to provide them with answers.”
Ralph Alessi - Trumpet
Jason Moran Piano
Andy Milne Piano(on "Sir", "Same Old Story"),
Drew Gress on Double Bass
Nasheet Waits Drums.