Drummer-Composer Devin Gray reconvenes his Dirigo Rataplan band of master musicians - with Ellery Eskelin, Michael Formanek & Dave Ballou - for second album, Dirigo Rataplan II, due from Rataplan Records on Sept. 21
"A musician-drummer rather than a drummer-drummer, Gray is interested in making music that is deeply evocativeŠ shaped by a fizzing, often restless push-pull energy." - Jazzwise
Oct. 1 - Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
Oct. 2 - University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Oct. 3 - University of Maine, Augusta, ME
Oct. 4 - SPACE, Portland, ME
Oct. 5 - Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT
Oct. 6 - An die Musik, Baltimore, MD
Oct. 7 - The October Revolution Festival, Philadelphia, PA
Dec. 1 - Greenwich Music House, NYC
Dec. 4 - Korzo, Brooklyn, NY
Dec. 6 - SMAK, Ghent, BE
Dec. 7 - Vortex, London, UK
Dec. 8 - AMR, Geneva, Switzerland
Dec. 9 - Geneva Conservatory of Music, Geneva
Dec. 10 -Villa Irniger, Zurich, Switzerland
Dec. 10 -Villa Irniger, Zurich, Switzerland
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.
About the evolution of Dirigo Rataplan and his writing for the band, Gray says: "I've become more at ease with following my natural artistic impulses. The experiences I've had over the past six years have been so inspiring - in the intense, ultra-energized New York jazz scene, of course, but also in Europe, where players in improvised music are so open to different genres and have this holistic approach to art and creativity. With Dirigo Rataplan II, there is more free improvisation in the music, but I also think the melodic fluidity between the composition and the improvisation is more seamless, with one flowing into the other in a way that I really like. This music is personal for me, but I want Mike, Ellery and Dave to do what it is they do, to maximize the pieces in the way that I know they can."
About working with Gray, Formanek says: "Devin has grown as a composer since that first quartet recording session in 2011, but most important, he has a much more evolved sense of who he is_ as a musician, and also of who we are in the band as improvisers. These instincts take time to develop, and it has been great to see that process unfold in both his playing and his composing. This music is free and open with a lot of room for improvisation, but the tunes also have an intrinsic rhythmic and melodic character to them, a color and energy. With the quartet having played together more now, the sessions for the new album felt even better."
Reflecting further on Dirigo Rataplan II, Gray concludes: "I don't set out to make jazz records, per se. I set out to make music, period - to capture the moment, the contemporary feel of the music, hoping that it can reflect in some small way how we live now and what we all have to deal with as human beings in the world."
In addition to Dirigo Rataplan, Devin Gray leads the quartet Relative Resonance, featuring Chris Speed, Kris Davis and Chris Tordini. Reviewing that band's eponymous Skirl Records album, All About Jazz said: "The vitality of Relative Resonance can't be deniedŠ the music here literally sparkles with wit and resourcefulness." On record, Gray has also led his Cloudsounds trio (with Ingrid Laubrock and Corey Smythe) and his quartet Fashionable Pop Music (with Tordini, Jonathan Goldberger and Ryan Ferreira). He recently released a hard-grooving digital single fronting his quartet Meta Cache with Jeremy Viner, Elias Stemeseder and Kim Cass.
As a sideman, Gray has recorded recent albums as part of Nate Wooley's Argonautica sextet, trumpeter Daniel Levine's trio Knuckleball (with Marc Hannaford) and a trio led by pianist Santiago Leibson (with Drew Gress). Of late, the drummer has played with Dave Liebman and Tony Malaby, along with touring Europe at the head of a trio with Speed and Gress. Gray's recent collaborators also include Gerald Cleaver, Uri Caine, Andrea Parkins, Satoko Fuji, Richard Bonnet, Daniel Guggenheim, Marc Ducret, Frank Gratkowski, Jacob Anderskov, Eve Risser and Susana Santos Silva.