Devin Gray – Drums
Dave Ballou – Trumpet
Ellery Eskelin – Tenor Saxophone
Michael Formanek – Bass
Devin has been fortunate to perform in many places around the globe. He is a top call young drummer in many modern jazz circles in New York City. Devin Gray’s fresh approach to modern drumming has enabled him to play with many of the worlds great jazz musicians. He has performed and recorded with innovative musicians of contrasting styles and backgrounds such as: David Liebman, Tony Malaby, Gary Thomas, Ingrid Jensen, Dave Burrell, Dave Ballou, Michael Formanek, Nate Wooley, Stephan Crump, George Garzone, Chris Speed, Drew Gress, Sam Rivers, Ralph Alessi, John O’Gallagher, Ellery Eskelin, Kris Davis, Ted Rosenthal, Matt Mitchell, Uri Caine, Andrew D’Angelo, Vardan Ovsepian, Bill McHenry as well as many others.
Dirigo Rataplan features Devin fronting the eponymous band with trumpeter Dave Ballou, tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and bassist Michael Formanek, each a master improviser renowned far and wide among fans of creative music. Cadence magazine declared that initial disc to be “fantastic,” while JazzTimes said that Gray’s debut represented “the work of a young artist who knows who he is.” The Free Jazz blog encapsulated the album this way: “This music is all about soul, with technical skills and finesse fully at the service of the end result, full of surprises, emotion and a deep-rooted sense of pulse. One of the best debut albums in years.”
Now, after six years of intensive experience performing and recording as leader and sideman on both sides of the Atlantic, Gray has reconvened this all-star group for Dirigo Rataplan II, which will be released on CD, vinyl, digitally and for streaming via Rataplan Records on September 21, 2018. Time Out New York has praised Gray’s compositions for balancing “formal elasticity with a meticulous sense of pacing.” The new album brims with more earworm melody, richly implied harmony and a loose-limbed sense of rhythm as something physical and flowing – as blood, as breath. Fans of jazz from Ornette Coleman and Henry Threadgill to Dave Holland and Craig Taborn will dig this organic, engrossing mix of composition and improvisation, structure and freedom, atmosphere and dynamism. Recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn, Dirigo Rataplan II is music in touch with tradition even as it resonates fully in the moment.