Devin Gray’s Dirigo Rataplan
“A musician-drummer rather than a drummer-drummer, Gray is interested in making music that is deeply evocative…shaped by a fizzing, often restless push-pull energy.” — Jazzwise
There are times when music lovers can just feel a talent coming into his or her own, when that artist is someone to catch onstage or on record at every opportunity. Drummer-composer Devin Gray has arrived at such a moment. The Brooklyn-based artist made his leader debut in 2012 with the Skirl Records release Dirigo Rataplan, which featured him fronting the eponymous band with tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, bassist Michael Formanek and trumpeter Dave Ballou, 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.”
Now, after six years of intensive experience as a 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 Sept. 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 mix of composition and improvisation, structure and freedom, atmosphere and dynamism.