Jazz trumpeter Ralph Alessi was born in San Francisco, the son of classical trumpeter Joe Alessi and opera singer Maria Leone. After earning degrees in jazz trumpet and bass and studying under the legendary Charlie Haden at CalArts, he went to New York, where he swiftly became a ubiquitous presence on the downtown scene. He has been a frequent collaborator with such notable musicians as Steve Coleman, Jason Moran, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch, Uri Caine, and Dafnis Prieto.
In various configurations, including the quintet This Against That, Alessi has recorded nine CDs of original compositions which draw on everything from post-bop to neo-classical music. In 2013, he released Baida, a quartet CD on ECM records, and Only Many, a duo recording with pianist Fred Hersch on CAMJazz. Outside of his work as a leader, Alessi has appeared on approximately 75 recordings.
As an educator, Alessi has been a faculty member of the Eastman School of Music and is currently the founder and director of the School for Improvisational Music, a nonprofit entity currently holding improvisational music workshops in New York City and abroad. Since 2002, he has been on the jazz faculty at New York University.
Former faculty, Eastman School of Music. Also faculty of New York University's Steinhardt School.