Ray Marchica: In The Ring (2005)
Ray Marchica has lived a busy life as drummer. He was on the Rosie O'Donnell Show over its six-year stay on television and sat in the drummer's chair for a host of productions on Broadway. He was also in Woody Allen's Radio Days. Good going certainly, there's nothing like keeping the pulse ticking in more ways than one. In the midst of all this, he found time to record two albums, the first being A Different View.
In the current blend of standards and originals, the former come off stronger. The group saves the best for last, or just one short of it. "I Can't Get Started" is a warm ballad that gets its soul from Teodross Avery, whose tenor saxophone lingers and breathes emotion into every note. The mood is enhanced by Marchica's empathic brush work and gently shimmering cymbals. Guitarist Rodney Jones, who has a way of interspersing chunky chords with notes that speak directly to the listener, adds another shade of beckoning. "Summertime" is pumped up, the adrenalin surging. There's nothing like adding some effervescence to the heat as Jones loosens up with swinging notes and Avery adds some buoyancy to the proceedings, even as he reins in the line to make it a shade tauter.
Marchica pays tribute to Elvin Jones and Philly Joe Jones on "The Joneses." This hard-edged and intense tune is spearheaded by Avery, who cuts a deep furrow with a quick honk or two, tossing in strangulated squiggles for added measure. All the while the bottom is a surging, swelling rumble churned by Marchica and bassist Lonnie Plaxico. When it comes to "Journey's End," much of the middle is loosely wrapped over the theme before the overwhelming part comes, with bass, drums, and sax spinning dizzyingly to the climax. Despite this, the overall listen is pleasing enough, with several enjoyable moments.
Track Listing: Billy's Bounce (sic); "Worm" drum solo; Tequila; 9H5; Journey's End; The Joneses; Minor Mishap; I Can't Get Started; Summertime.
Personnel: Ray Marchica-drums; Rodney Jones-guitar; Lonnie Plaxico-bass; Teodross Avery-tenor saxophone.