298

Ray Levier: Ray's Way

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Ray Levier: Ray's Way New York-based drummer Ray Levier contends for debut CD of the year with Ray's Way. He's assembled an all-star cast, including two of the finest guitarists plying the six string trade: John Abercrombie and Mike Stern, on five and four cuts respectively.

Levier's drumming has a "serve the music" approach that can be subtle or assertive, and often quite rock-influenced, as on the Mike Stern-penned "You Never Know," a tune that recalls Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits' mid-'80s "I want my MTV" lament. Saxophonist David Binney sits in on four cuts, adding a growling texture to the often glowing, sustain-heavy (guitar/vibes) ensemble sound.

Levier's "Song for Nury"—with John Abercrombie on guitar—has a tranquil and folksy sound, with Joe Locke's vibe's infusing a feeling of otherworldly spirituality. "Blues in the Closet," written by Oscar Pettiford, is a trio effort featuring Stern on guitar, playing with a particularly luminous sound in front of bassist Ned Mann's deep, smooth-flowing groove and Levier's seamless bustle.

"Echoing," written by bassist Francois Moutin—who plays on this and six more tunes on the disc—features an icy cool ensemble mood that showcases Locke's crystalline vibe work. Abercrombie's "Ralph's Piano Waltz" is a highlight—if one must be picked—with a drifting, ethereal mood and a guitar-ish Moutin bass solo in front of Locke's neon comping. Stern's "Bait Tone Blues" has a feeling of agitation, with the guitarist stinging out sharp single notes like a mad wasp, while his smeared chording behind Binney's sax gives the sound an organ trio vibe.

Levier has crafted a first-rate, modern-sounding jazz set. The cohesive ensemble mood—unusual when the cast of players rotates—is maintained from start to finish, and though he doesn't call a bunch of attention to himself, it's worth a spin or two just to hone in on what he does on the drums.

Keep an ear on this Lavier guy—he's got "rising star" written all over him.


Track Listing: Ray's Way; Manhatta; You Never Know; Song for Nury; Blues in the Closet; Bait Tone Blues; Ralph's Piano Waltz; Echoing; Wing and a Prayer.

Personnel: Dave Binney: saxophone (1, 3 4, 6); Federico Turreni: soprano sax (8); John Abercrombie: guitar: 1, 2, 4, 7, 8); Mike Stern: guitar (3, 5, 6, 9); Joe Locke: vibes (1, 2, 4, 7, 8); Francois Moutin: bass (1-4, 6-8); Ned Mann: bass(5, 9); Ray Levier: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
George Benson George Benson
guitar
Corey Wilkes Corey Wilkes
trumpet
Thomas Marriott Thomas Marriott
trumpet
Idit Shner Idit Shner
saxophone
Greg Chako
guitar
Jerry Tachoir Jerry Tachoir
vibraphone
Steve Allee Steve Allee
piano
Matt Otten
guitar
Denise Donatelli Denise Donatelli
vocalist
Les Sabler Les Sabler
guitar, electric

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Mujo" CD/LP/Track Review Mujo
by John Sharpe
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Pensamiento" CD/LP/Track Review Pensamiento
by James Nadal
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Love For Sale" CD/LP/Track Review Love For Sale
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!