Ralph Alessi

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Ralph Alessi
Florian Weber Quartet INNtone 10.jpg
Background information
Birth nameRalph Peter Alessi
Born (1963-03-05) March 5, 1963 (age 60)
San Francisco, California
Occupation(s)Jazz musician, composer
Labels ECM, RKM

Ralph Alessi (born March 5, 1963) is an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and ECM recording artist. [1] [2] Alessi is known as a virtuosic performer [3] whose critically-acclaimed projects include his Baida Quartet, with Jason Moran, Drew Gress, and Nasheet Waits, [4] [5] and This Against That, his quintet with Andy Milne, Gress, Mark Ferber, and Ravi Coltrane. [6] [7] [8] Alessi has also recorded and performed with artists including Steve Coleman, Uri Caine, Fred Hersch, and Don Byron. [9] [10]


Alessi is known for his work as an educator, [11] and in 2001 he founded the School for Improvisational Music in Brooklyn, New York. [1] He has taught at the Eastman School of Music, NYU, NEC, [12] the University of Nevada, Reno, [13] Siena Jazz University, [14] and University of the Arts Bern.

Early life and career

Alessi was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. [15] His parents met as performers at the Metropolitan Opera: his mother, Maria Leone Alessi, sang in the chorus; his father, Joseph Alessi Sr., was principal trumpet for nearly 15 seasons. [16] His brother, Joseph Alessi, is a trombonist with the New York Philharmonic. [16]

Alessi also began as a classical musician, and performed with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera in his teens. [17] He later attended the California Institute of the Arts, studying with Charlie Haden while earning a BFA in jazz trumpet performance and MFA in jazz bass performance. [15] In 1986, he met fellow CalArts student Ravi Coltrane, who became one of his longest-standing collaborators. [7] JazzTimes describes their "musical bond" as "arguably developing into a rapport on par with the highest echelon of trumpet/tenor combinations"; [6] Coltrane once gave an interview with NPR focused entirely on his favorite song, Alessi's "Who Wants Ice Cream". [18]

Select discography

As leader

As sideman

With David Ake

With Don Byron

With Michael Cain

With Uri Caine

With James Carney

With Steve Coleman

With Ravi Coltrane

With Scott Colley

With David Gilmore

With Drew Gress

With Fred Hersch

With Jason Moran

With Enrico Pieranunzi

With Lonnie Plaxico

With Sam Rivers

With Yelena Eckemoff

With Others

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  2. "Ralph Alessi". All About Jazz. 5 March 1963. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  3. Fordham, John (29 July 2010). "Jim Hart/Ralph Alessi". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  4. Chinen, Nate (15 August 2010). "Ralph Alessi in a Quartet at the Jazz Standard". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  5. 1 2 Fitzell, Sean (February 2014). "Baida: Ralph Alessi (ECM)" (PDF). The New York City Jazz Record. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  6. 1 2 Shanley, Mike (25 April 2019). "Ralph Alessi: Imaginary Friends (ECM)". JazzTimes. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  7. 1 2 Ouellette, Dan (29 April 2019). "Ralph Alessi Reconvenes Ensemble for 'Imaginary Friends'". DownBeat.
  8. Fitzell, Sean Patrick (10 April 2007). "Ralph Alessi & This Against That: Look". All About Jazz. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  9. 1 2 Layman, Will (13 May 2016). "Ralph Alessi: A Trumpet King for 2016". PopMatters.
  10. Collar, Matt. "Ralph Alessi | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic . Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  11. Chinen, Nate (19 June 2019). "The Gig: Brass Class". JazzTimes. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  12. "Ralph Alessi, Brian Levy join NEC jazz faculty". New England Conservatory. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  13. "Joseph and Ralph Alessi with the UNR Trombone Choir". University of Nevada, Reno. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  14. Laskey, Kevin (February 2020). "A Provocative Blend: Ralph Alessi Speaks". Jazz Speaks. The Jazz Gallery. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  15. 1 2 Collar, Matt. "Ralph Alessi: Biography". Blue Note. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  16. 1 2 Currie, Barbara Jöstlein (January 2015). "Q&A With Joseph Alessi". The Juilliard Journal. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  17. "Listen: Ralph Alessi – "Near Cry"". Jazz Speaks. The Jazz Gallery. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  18. Pellegrinelli, Lara (1 October 2013). "Ravi Coltrane's Favorite 'Ice Cream' Flavor". NPR. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  19. "AMN Reviews: Tomas Fujiwara Trio – Variable Bets (2014; Relative Pitch Records)". Avant Music News. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  20. de Barros, Paul (February 2019). "Florian Weber: Lucent Waters". DownBeat. Retrieved 26 August 2021.