On these 10 pieces he 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. All the pieces are his, from the initially free-fluttering title track with its soft trumpet doodles over slow-moving piano and percussion, through the delicately prancing ‘Chuck Barris’, to the weaving ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ with its shivery snare-drum tattoo and prodding piano lines. Moran is as attuned to his surroundings as ever, Gress and Waits keep the pressure up but not the volume, and occasionally the whole set sounds eerily like the mid-60s Miles Davis quintet reinvented as a shyly slinky, contemporary-cool-jazz tribute.
John Fordham, The Guardian
Baida, estreia discográfica do trompetista na ECM, label que garante de imediato uma mauor visibilidade mediática produçáo conferem à música de Alessi uma claerza que a faz brilhar, flutuar e explodir em todas as direcções.
(Baida is the record debut of the trumpeter on the ECM label, which guarantees an immediate greater media visibility and whose production values give the music of Alessi a clarity that makes it shine, float and explode in all directions).
Daniel Neves, Público
Ein paar Schmatzlaute von der Trompete, einige dahingeworfene Floskeln vom Klavier, ein wuchtiger Bass von ganz weit unten, das quirlige Vexierspiel vom Schlagzeug – zu Musik verbindet sich das erst, wenn alle miteinander in Beziehung treten. Wenn sie neben dem Gespielten die Leerräume erzählen lassen, die Pausen, die jeder einzelne der beteiligten Musiker setzt, die Stille, die Ruhe im Spiel. Wenn sie die gefüllten Flächen danebenstellen, mal ganz dicht im Unisono, dann aufgelöst in harmonische Felder, durch die sich, mal tastend, mal forsch und fordernd, eine Melodielinie windet. ‚Baida’ heißt das ECM-Debüt des Trompeters Ralph Alessi, und wir sprechen hier von Jazz, von einer Variante des Jazz, die alte Routinen längst abgestreift hat. Wir sprechen von einer Musik, die Wert legt auf eine ausgewogene Balance zwischen markanter, eigensinniger Komposition und sensibler Interaktion, die die Feier des Solisten-Ego eingemottet hat und stattdessen den Individualismus des Kollektivs ins Rampenlicht stellt. […] Es ist ein Fest des Wiedersehens, der Gemeinschaft und der Spielfreude, dynamisch und intensiv, rau und harmonisch, sensible und sehr schön.
Stefan Hentz, Die Zeit
Now comes an ECM debut album by Alessi which is really quite breathtaking: the music is vibrant, powerfully emotional and establishes beyond doubt that the trumpeter is a really compelling improviser. He has an all-star band on this recording, too: pianist Jason Moran, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Nasheet Waits. All the pieces are by Alessi [...] There’s a great variety thoughout the album, and every track is a gem.
John Watson, Jazz Camera
Auf ‘Baida’, seinem Debütalbum für ECM, klingt er schlichtweg spektakulär: mit bestechender Präzision, brillanter Improvisationskraft und bezwingender Phrasierungsfantasie. […] Mit einer grandiosen Band [..] streift Alessi durch eine Vielzahl von Stilen und Stimmungen; freie Schwebeballaden fulminante Free-Ausbrüche, vertrackte Themen-Abstraktionen, hinreißend melodische Songformen […] traumhaft gut!
Georg Spindler, Mannheimer Morgen
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 pianist Jason Moran, and flawless support from Drew Gress and Nasheet Waits on bass and drums. Highly recommended.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times
Trumpeter 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. [...] With Alessi’s imaginative writing for the ensemble and virtuoso trumpet playing that has made him one of the most in demand sidemen in US jazz, this is a dream team recording representing a highwater mark of the current American mainstream.
Cormac Larkin, Irish Times
Alessi’s tunes, such as ‘Shank,’ are usually on the move from the very first notes. His compositions are flexible rather than tightly organized, yet their initial statements, whether by Alessi alone or in duet with the bass, as in ‘Shank,’ are strong enough to dominate even the freest group improvisations that follow. I am intrigued by his titles, as well as by the unexpected intervals and insistent shapes of his compositions: ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ is a surprisingly sober tune introduced by bassist Gress. Waits’ martial drums, looming under the long tones and scalar passages of the muted trumpet, played here in unison with Moran, seem to defy the cocky nature of the boyhood insult. The disc is full of surprises, yet Baida is marked by Alessi’s consistently strong compositional ideas and arrangements. This band has an undeviating vision: Baida seems to me to be a triumph of rock solid character.
Michael Ullman, The Arts Fuse
In other truly creative bout of recording sessions, Baida sees the release of another debut recording for a new artist to the ECM roster with trumpeter Ralph Alessi bringing his unique and haunting trumpet sound to the label, and a powerhouse New York rhythm section to compliment it.
Baida features ten original compositions from the trumpeter, with the opening title track being
reprised to close the disc, and displays a remarkable range of melodic and rhythmic variety without out ever losing sight of the overall mood and sound created by the superb and sympathetic quartet assembled. [...] Alessi’s trumpet sound can be by turns full and brassy, or move to extreme fragility and tenderness, whether playing open or using the harmon mute. His ballad playing is quite breath taking on ‘Sanity’ and on the beautiful and poignant ‘Maria Lydia’ for his mother who passed away shortly after the album was completed. [...] This is a remarkably assured release from Alessi, who is proving to be a most commanding and compelling player and composer, and this is hopefully just the beginning of a long and fruitful tenure with ECM.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views
This is a remarkably satisfying album, not only for the compositions which, as we have heard previously from Alessi, manage to be both exacting and pliable at the same time, but also for both the group interaction and individual playing of this top-flight band. Alessi has a tone and expression that is just sublime. There is emotion in his playing but it is never trite; there is intelligence in it that is never over-intellectual. [...] An outstanding album in every way.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast