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Alessi; Ralph: Quiver

Trumpeter Ralph Alessi has set out to leave us a-shiver with his jazz quartet's latest offering Quiver. It's melancholic stuff, sure of itself and yet the main protagonist's description of this album being 'pensive' is hugely relevant. Deep, involved, or intricate are also equal observations, the lyrical nature, but lyric-less setting, seemingly capable of telling stories which bring you into the music, but which still feel full of mystery and intrigue.

Joining Alessi for this enigmatic journey is Drew Gress on double bass, Nasheet Waits on drums and Gary Versace, a recent recruit to the quartet, doing a wonderful job on piano. Alongside the expected trumpet led fare, the backing trio all get glorious momenta to shine as they step into and then back from the glare of the spotlight. However where Quiver is most clever is through its ability to find the foursome involved all working for the same goals and in perfect unison. The considered pacing of "Gone Today, Here Tomorrow" illustrates this intention superbly, the song's introduction filled with spacious darkness which is merely punctuated by trumpet stabs and percussive persuasion. Yet as things grow, so double bass bends the mindset of the song and sparse piano flits round the edges, rather than feeling the need to interrupt the flow just to prove it's there.

"I To I" lives up to its questioning title, a feeling of self examination delivered through an almost languid, but never lazy approach. Cleverly the atmosphere never quite settles into a slow flow that could in the wrong hands be easy and contrived, instead once again utilising a stand offishness which somehow still feels thoroughly engaging. "Window Goodbyes" brings a more rueful regret in tone, the loss and loneliness portrayed in such a way that you almost taste it; the trumpet work as emotional as you could imagine. It's wonderfully constructed stuff and yet, other than the closing "Do Over", it could be seen as all possibly a little too slow paced and maybe even overly maudlin for some to want to experience again and again. However if pensive, patient, persuasive patterns are what you crave, Quiver will have you trembling in anticipation.

Track Listing
1.Here Tomorrow
2. Window Goodbyes
3. Smooth Descent
4. Heist
5. Gone Today, Here Tomorrow
6. I to I
7. Scratch
8. Shush
9. Quiver
10. Do Over

Added: March 13th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Quiver at ECM Records
Hits: 1325
Language: english

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