DEVIN GRAY'S CAREER-PRIMING DEBUT ALBUM RELEASED
I started playing the drums as a boy just to fill the air with some noise. ( Quote: Devin Gray)
Drummer-composer Devin Gray and his quartet recently released his debut album, entitled Dirigo Rataplan. A rather strange title, but Devin explains: It comes from "Dirigo" meaning to direct or lead in Latin, and "Rataplan", which is French for the beating of hooves, or of drums - so it denotes leading from the beat.
Devin Gray ( photo courtesy Liz Kosack)
Devin Gray raised in Yarmouth, Maine, a small city north of Portland and Dirigo is the state motto. Maine, which is the most north eastern state at the US east coast, a rural state with a lot of forests, which inspired Devin as a kid ....... It's as quiet as can be up there. I started playing the drums as a boy just to fill the air with some noise. The sound of nature inspired him to play ..... as organic and meaningful and beautiful as you can make them .... That ideal is always inside me when I make music.
Parts of the album ( Design: karlssonwilker.inc)
Devin Gray invited three versatile musicians, Master Musicians as he labels them, who inspired him and all three are active in jazz for decades, to join his group for this debut album:
- Saxophone player Ellery Eskelin, who's active in jazz music since the 1980s when he debuted with the Towson State College Jazz Ensemble (1980) and could be heard in the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band and Joey Baron's Baron Down group (1990s) and with our own Dutch percussionist Han Bennink (Dissonant Character)(1998)
- Trumpeter Dave Ballou, who recorded with Kenny Werner, Tom Varner, Mark Murphy, Maria Schneider, David Liebman, Harold Danko, Andrew Hill and John Hollenbeck to list some
- Bass player Michael Formanek, who started his career during the 1970s with giants like Art Pepper, Chet Baker, Fred Hersch, Dave Liebman, Mark Murphy and was part of both Toshiko Akiyoshi's and Bob Mintzer's Big Band.
This debut album Dirigo Rataplan contains eight original Devin Gray compositions. Listen to the Don Cherry-like opener Quadraphonically
I like the tune Down Time which has a great theme played by Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone and Dave Ballou on trumpet. Down Time happens - Gold is rare and fruit takes time to grow - Use it wisely. In Prospect Park in the Dark Devin honours the US composer Charles Ives ( 1874-1954) and Thickets was made to remember his mentor on drums Gerald Cleaver .... He learned from Cleaver how to lead a band, being a drummer man: Leading from the drums is very different than doing it from another instrument, a piano or a horn, Devin explains: You're not playing notes, per se, so you have to lead on another level, with energy and imagination ...... I won't be a drummer-drummer but a musician-drummer. The music you're making for people is always the point.
The CD Dirigo Rataplan ( Design: karlssonwilker.inc)
This album tracks attention, not only by its music, but also by its size .... it's not sized like the regular crystal clear standard CD box, but has been sized to appear above it, and - to be honest - for me that's a minus to find a proper place to archive it.
The music of this young drummer-composer Devin Gray, one of the most promising musicians on the New York scene, should be heard - a great career-priming debut album: Dirigo Rataplan.
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Devin Gray is one of those young drummers who deserves further recognition. I look forward to watching the career trajectory of this special talent, Steve Grover, senior drummer said about him. Recently Gray released his debut album with eight original compositions, accompanied by some great versatile musicians, master musicians, who have wun their spurs in jazz for decades: Devin Gray Quartet: Dirigo Rataplan
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