Contemplative engrossing moods here... there is something very deep about the way Ralph Alessi sculpts his compositions and arranges his playing situations. Everything seems sealed in his own world. His approach sits alongside the way Kenny Wheeler used to create spaces not dissimilar to ‘Oxide,’ just one of a number of outstanding tracks on Imaginary Friends, the US trumpeter’s new album with Ravi Coltrane, Andy Milne, Drew Gress and Mark Ferber. Alessi manages to sound utterly alone even in the company of these fine players. There is an exactness to the effect and when the tune unspools to reveal a solo from Milne that microscopic detail is there but gives way then to a plangent anthem shaped by trumpet and sax reprised from before and suddenly the individual becomes a collective endeavour once again.
REVIEW Ralph Alessi Imaginary Friends ECM **** RECOMMENDED
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