The second work by Ralph Alessi on CAM JAZZ, after the successful debut with “Cognitive Dissonance”. This time the trumpet player shares the honor of appearing on the cover with Fred Hersch, a pianist of great class, who is in perfect accord with his partner in adventure. Only Many is prevalently a CD for four hands, proof of the great complicity created in the studio at the time of the recording.
The brief, intense introduction, “Ride”, seems to be almost a warning to the listener, a call to concentrate on what will happen during the 60 minutes of the album. The velvety “Hands”, composed by Alessi alone, is the prelude to one of the two “cover” pieces on the CD, the wonderful “San Francisco Holiday” by a Thelonious Monk, who can never be mentioned and reinterpreted enough. We have to wait until almost the end of Only Many to hear the other virtual guest, Paul Motian, with “Blue Midnight”.
Hypnotic, expanded themes, from Monk to Motian, in which improvisation and interplay reign supreme. Hersch and Alessi pursue each other, chase each other, overlap each other and slowly find increasingly different languages and expressive forms, resulting in an utterly fascinating, magnetic CD. Short, essential themes, almost always lasting between two and four minutes, except for the two interpretations of other composers and the long suite, “Someone Digging in the Ground”, which is the prelude to “Snap”, the grand finale.
A new, interesting development of the artistic dialogue between the pianist and the trumpet player that began a few years ago in Pocket Orchestra by Hersch and destined to further, surprising developments.
Recorded at Dolan Recording Studios/NYU Steinhardt School - Recording engineer Paul Geluso
Photos by John Rogers
Liner notes by Federico Scoppio