Do you believe in a separation between mainstream jazz and the avant-garde? “Wiry Strong” could be labeled as the former, but the music from this new release is fresh and has a profound energy suggestive of the urgent things in life. What else would we expect from trumpeter Ralph Alessi, someone who has had a significant presence in some of the better “new jazz” made in new york city over the past 15 years with notable innovators like Steve Coleman, Don Byron, Uri Caine and Jason Moran? With such collaborators like saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Tim Berne (both involved in this CD, one as a member of the band, the other co-producing it) Alessi isn’t really against anything or in favor of something; he acts as a bridge uniting these seemingly disparate worlds of jazz. Here, we find a loving respect for the tradition, but also a commitment to take jazz to the next step. This is post-bop in its most refined manifestation, boiling hot but elegant, performed by an all star cast of musicians: Andy Milne (piano), Drew Gress (bass) Mark Ferber (drums), the afore mentioned Mr. Coltrane and the leader of this compelling musical statement, Ralph Alessi (trumpet/composer). Enjoy!