Sunday, September 01, 2013

Capsule Notes: Ralph Alessi, Matt Mitchell

Ralph Alessi - Baida (ECM, 2013) Ralph Alessi is a very talented trumpet player who has had prominent spots both as a leader and a sideman. For his ECM debut, he has the support of a fine crew: Jason Moran on piano, Drew Gress on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. The album has a crystalline beauty, where ECM's famous production techniques presents the music in great clarity. Without the presence of a saxophonist, Alessi has a lot of ground to cover and he does it very well, never rushing or forcing, but playing with grace and power. "Chuck Harris" and "Gobble Goblins" were highlights, played with wit and bravado by a fascinating band. Baida -

Matt Mitchell - Fiction (Pi Recordings, 2013) Pianist Matt Mitchell waited patiently to make his debut recording as a leader, working as a sideman with the likes of Dave Douglas and Tim Berne. His duet partner on this album is the omnipresent percussionist Ches Smith. They make an excellent combination, both taking a highly rhythmic nature, powering through a series of taught and and powerful improvisation. Mitchell has a ripe and powerfully focused sound on this piano, driving throughout this potent album to the finish line in a very impressive fashion. Fiction -

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