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Sunday, August 26, 2012

CD Review: The Cloudmakers Trio with Ralph Alessi - *Live at the Pizza Express.

Ralph Alessi (tpt); Jim Hart (vbs); Michael Janisch (bs); Dave Smith (dms).
(Review by Lance)
I've several times proffered the opinion that Jim Hart is the number one vibes player - not just in the UK, but anywhere - and this CD only serves to enhance that belief. His flowing solos, unison lines  and counterpoint passages  with trumpet give an indication as to why he was one of the small number of Brits nominated in this years Down Beat Poll - he got my vote let's hope he got yours.

New Yorker Alessi is one of the key trumpeters on the Big Apple's jazz and improvised music scene - and has been since 1991 - working both as a leader and a sideman. This latter category includes gigging with the likes of Steve Coleman, Uri Caine, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch and many others. As a leader Alessi has at least half a dozen albums under his belt the most recent being Wiry Strong.  Hi ideas are undoubtedly of the 21st century albeit not without a suggestion of the latter day Miles.
Michael Janisch has become such a fixture on the UK scene that it's easy to forget he is actually an American although his solo on Monk's Bye-Ya could easily have been mistaken for a solo by any of the great American bass players. He is formidable in stature here.
Dave Smith, a regular musical cohort of Hart, is first call, and often leader of many divers groups such as Outhouse and Outhouse Ruhabi (with 5 Gambian Sabar drummers!) On this disc he gels perfectly with the other 3.
The compositions, apart from Bye-ya are divided evenly between Hart and Alessi.
The Cloudmakers Trio with Tony Alessi "Live at the Pizza Express (Whirlwind Records) is released on Sept. 10 with an official launch at Pizza on October 27.
Lance.

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