There are magic moments when an artist can be said to have well and truly “arrived.” For Ralph Alessi, the release of Baida – his ECM debut as a bandleader – is just such a moment, despite his already extensive resume. Among those in the know, Alessi is renowned as a musician’s musician, a first-call New York trumpeter who can play virtually anything on sight and has excelled as an improviser in groups led by Steve Coleman, Uri Caine, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch and Don Byron, as well as leading his own bands.
The Latvian violinist Baiba Skride won the 2001 Queen Elisabeth competition at the age of twenty. This is her debut recital for Sony, and probably the only SACD of her playing for the indefinite future, as her follow up has only been released on plain CD. (…) This disc is one of the most intelligently planned violin selections currently available…
Quiver finds trumpeter Ralph Alessi and his quartet in a lyrical, reflective mood. Alessi describes the atmosphere in the recording studio as "pensive," a quality that imbues this music. The group includes most of the players from Alessi's acclaimed ECM leader debut Baida (2013). Drew Gress (double-bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums) return, with Gary Versace taking the piano chair in place of Jason Moran.
In the winter of 2012/13, the Haus der Kunst in Munich – one of Europe’s most important museums for contemporary art – hosted the exhibition ECM – A Cultural Archaeology. The goal of curators Okwui Enwezor and Markus Müller was to show the range of the label’s artistic endeavours in music, graphic art, and photography and its creative interchanges with film, theatre and literature. For this exhibition, Manfred Eicher and Steve Lake created this box-set accentuating directions in ECM's rich musical history. Many themes and streams are touched upon here including the range of composition in the New Series, music for and from films, imaginative historical reconstructions, trans-cultural music, ambient minimalism, and jazz and improvisation of many hues, in a collection with a playing time of more than seven hours.