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4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Nov. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B00BY1F9SM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,541 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

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 resumé.

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."

Baida was recorded in October 2012 at New York City's Avatar Studios, with Manfred Eicher helming the session. Framing Baida (the name comes from the word the trumpeter's toddler daughter uses for "blanket") is the enthralling melody of Alessi's title composition - at deeply atmospheric length to open the album and in a lyrically flowing reprise to close.

Personnel: Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Jason Moran (piano), Drew Gress (double bass), Nasheet Waits (drums)


'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 Moran, and flawless support from Gress and Waits...Highly recommended.' -- Financial Times, (Mike Hobart), October 19, 2013 * * * * *

'Alessi leads an A-list quartet of outstandingly creative musicians...Alessi creates a tension between bristly and angular phrasing and a more broad-toned, lyrical approach, while Moran's thrilling freeflowing creation of ideas mixes an otherworldliness with a restless, spiky romanticism.' -- Jazzwise, (Selwyn Harris), September 2013 * * * *

'On these 10 pieces Alessi 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...sounds eerily like the mid-60s Miles Davis quintet reinvented as a shyly slinky, contemporary-cool-jazz tribute.' -- The Guardian, (John Fordham), October 4, 2013 * * * *

'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...this is a dream team recording representing a highwater mark of the current American mainstream.' -- The Irish Times, (Cormac Larkin), October 25, 2013 * * * *

Alessi finds himself in fine company with the quartet gathered here... Clear lines, rather than intricate circuitry are what counts here. A very challenging but rewarding record.' -- Marlbank, (Stephen Graham), September 16, 2013 * * * *

'For variety and definition of tone and adventurousness of phrasing, Alessi's a refreshing all-rounder, making much of this quartet's intuitive approach...Great stuff.' -- Jazz Journal, (Nigel Jarrett), November 2013 * * * *

'Utilises all the skill and inventiveness of a supremely sympathetic band...Baida is not always the most immediately accessible album - Alessi frequently chooses the road less travelled - but it richly rewards listeners who are willing to approach it with the scrupulous attentiveness to nuance and detail that clearly characterised its production.'

--LondonJazzNews, (Chris Parker), October 14, 2013

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Drew Gress is one of the great contemporary bassists and part of the thrill of this CD was the thrill of hearing Jason Moran alongside Gress and Watts. Well, dream on. Typically for ECM the tunes tend towards slow or moderate pace. Only on 'In flight entertainment ' do they get a chance to break out. Trouble is, the recording of the bass is recessed and there is no clear sound of the attack note when the strings are plucked. If it is the miking or mixing i cannot tell. I was continually leaning forward to try and hear the bass but with no success. the other instruments sound fine (if you like the ECM reverb washing around) but the bass is poorly recorded. I have come across this problem before with recordings by James Farber at the New York Avatar studios. Unfortunately, I cannot remember what CDs (probably ECM) but having noticed this before I was alert to the problem. Thus, I have to record my dissatisfaction publically. Any one else out there care to comment?
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If obvious structure and melody are your thing then you won't find much of them here I'm afraid. In their place is a highly evolved musical art form that carries the listener subtly and persuasively along paths not readily identifiable in a conventional sense - but replete with spirit, imagination and great, great craft. The interaction between players oscillates from considered and planned to spontaneous and telepathic; the level of musicianship and integrity maintained throughout being the only constant. The results are, to quote the title of an earlier Alessi album, 'cognitive dissonance'. And if you think this well intended review is just so much 'tosh' then almost certainly you'll think the music likewise...!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9bf01744) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bfbea14) out of 5 stars DEEP, LYRICAL AND DELICATE 26 Oct. 2013
By Manuel Grosso Galvan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This same group of greats musicians edited one record in 2o10,"Cognitive Dissonance". Was a very good album but this is superb. Is the first CD of Alessi like band leader in ECM. What can you say of Jason Moran, Drew Gress or Nasheet Waits? Nothing new, are excellent musicians and always are very delicate and very musical. Here, with all the compositions from Alessi are even better. I must say that I love the trumpet the sound of Alessi. Is like a knife. cut the silence in beautiful parts. The concept album is clear; contemporary post bop made for ECM label. Very lyrical in some moments and very impressive in other. Very recommendable for this kind of audience and also for people who try to find something nice a little more complicate than usual jazz , but not hard to listen
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bfbea74) out of 5 stars JAZZ BY MUSICIANS WHO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER 7 May 2014
By David Keymer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
RA, tpt; Jason Moran, p; Drew Gress, b; Nasheet Watts, dr.

Wow, is this record good! Alessi is a trumpeter, both modern and classic, with a great sound and wonderful facility. Think Tomasz Stanko or Dave Douglas and you’re on track. Moran is as good a pianist as you could want anywhere. It isn’t just technique, although he has that in spades, but he possesses both a great rhythmic and a great melodic sensitivity, and his solos invoke echoes of pianists from James P. Johnson to Cecil Taylor and Marilyn Crispell.

(Listening to Moran soloing and in duet with Alessi, you are struck by much Cecil Taylor’s radical piano innovations –dissonant chords, out of sync rhythms —have become part of the standard jazz repertoire today and no longer threaten the listener.)

Gress is the least obtrusive in the quartet but that’s because he’s doing everything he’s asked to do so well. He is a flawless modernist –unobtrusive but in a quiet way, innovative. And Watts? Wow! What a drummer he is! Again, the trick in modernism is to enough but not too much, and Watts, Gress, Moran and Alessi all succeed at that.

This is a close to flawless album that should be in every serious jazz lover’s collection.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By J H - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It's all here. Great band, performances, compositions and creativity.
Ralph is the real deal.
I've listened many times. Will listen many more.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bfbecfc) out of 5 stars This is a must listen to. 7 Nov. 2013
By fred clasquin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The music is fresh and imaginative. The sound is incredible. Put this CD on your best stereo system, close your eyes and thoroughly enjoy this musical experience.
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