The latter lauded Ralph's previous recording Imaginary Friends (2019) for its "elegant balance of poignant, playful original compositions and gracefully probing improv" and declared it "his best album yet". It's Always Now however brims with arguments that there is a new contender for that title.
On his new album, Alessi's unique tone is as limber, piercing and present as ever, enveloped by a fresh quartet line-up - pianist Florian Weber, Bänz Oester on bass and drummer Gerry Hemingway - that navigates through the trumpeter's idiosyncratically swinging compositions with a sixth sense.
The album is not only a continuation of the leader's work but also records Florian's evolution on the label, this being his fourth album with ECM to date. His distinctive harmonic approach on keys is as evident in leader settings as in the role of a sideman, and his deep sensibility for Alessi's pulse enhances this session, which was produced by Manfred Eicher.
Ralph Alessi: trumpet
Florian Weber: piano
Bänz Oester: double bass
Gerry Hemingway: drums