A strong proponent of the avant-garde jazz scene, trumpeter and occasional bassist Ralph Alessi first began studying classical trumpet with his father. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alessi eventually found freelance jobs with various chamber ensembles as well as work with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. During the mid-'80s Alessi attended the California Institute for the Arts where he studied with bassist Charlie Haden and performed with various jazz luminaries, including saxophonist Bill Perkins and pianist Frank Strazzeri as well as Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra. In 1990, armed with a B.F.A. degree in jazz trumpet performance and an M.F.A. degree in jazz bass performance, Alessi moved to New York City. Since then he has performed with such longtime collaborators as saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Uri Caine, and saxophonist Steve Coleman.