GRAMMY Awards® Voters, find and vote for Ralph Alessi in the BEST INSTRUMENTAL JAZZ ALBUM for his deeply poetic recording Imaginary Friends (which features an elite quintet of Ravi Coltrane, Andy Milne, Drew Gress and Mark Ferber). This album has been called “One of the most savory records of the year” by New York City Jazz Record and “Alessi’s best album yet for ECM” by The Guardian. In particular, this recording captures the deep musical history of Mr. Alessi and Mr. Coltrane…. “The musical bond between Alessi and Coltrane is arguably developing into a rapport on par with the highest echelon of trumpet/tenor combinations.” Jazz Times
Born in San Francisco, CA March 5, 1963, Ralph Alessi is from a long lineage of musicians. His grandfather Joseph (1876-?) was co-principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and his father Joseph II (1915-2004) played trumpet in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and New York Symphony, and cornet in Edwin Franko Goldman’s band. Ralph’s mother sang with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus, and his younger brother Joseph III is principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic.
Ralph Alessi began playing the trumpet at age six under the guidance of his father. He attended the California Institute for the Arts where he studied
with Charlie Haden and James Newton. Alessi received a bachelor of music degree in jazz trumpet, and a master’s degree in jazz bass.
Alessi moved to New York City in 1991. During the past 20 years he has performed or recorded with Fred Hersch, Jason Moran,Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Bill Frisell, Uri Caine, Tim Berne, Drew Gress, Don Byron, Dafnis Prieto, Brad Shepik, Scott Colley, Michael Cain, James Carney, the Sam Rivers big band, among others. Jazz Times magazine says Alessi has "drop-dead trumpet chops" and calls his music "as clean and airy and sophisticated and disciplined as post-modern progressive jazz gets.”
As leader, Alessi has released several acclaimed albums including Hissy Fit (his debut album in 1999 on the Love Slave label), Open Season (RKM), Look (Between the Lines), This Against That (RKM) Vice and Virtue (RKM) , Cognitive Dissonance (CAMjazz), Wiry Strong (CleanFeed), Only Many (CAMjazz), Baida (ECM), Quiver (ECM) and Imaginary Friends (ECM). He has taught full-time at the Eastman School of Music and University of Nevada-Reno Music and is a visiting professor at the Accademia Nazionale del Jazz in Siena, Italy. He is founder and director of Brooklyn’s School for Improvisational Music (SIM).