Exposé Online banner

Devin Gray — Dirigo Rataplan II
(Rataplan, 2018, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-12-05

Dirigo Rataplan II Cover art

At the heart of Dirigo Rataplan is drummer and composer Devin Gray. Six years after their first eponymous release the group is back together for a second take. Gray provides interesting and flowing percussive rhythms, perhaps inspired to a degree by elements of world music, in these ten instrumental jazz compositions. The group also features acoustic bassist Michael Formanek, who has played on dozens if not hundreds of recordings both as collaborator and session man going all the way back to the early 1990s, and the chemistry between Formanek and Gray is the magic that holds these pieces together. The front line features saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and trumpeter Dave Ballou, the latter with over a dozen solo releases and the former with twice that, these are master musicians that have been working the turf for many years and have earned their due. The compositions tend to be quite solid on the bottom end and offer the frontline room to spontaneously create and breathe feeling in to the melodies, Ballou and Eskelin seemingly working some kind of alchemy together, at times they seem to be drifting and wandering around but in a moment they come back tight as ever. One can listen to this as soothing background music that won’t interrupt the listener’s thoughts, or as a concentrated listening experience, hanging on to the expessive emotional outpuring of every note and beat like an ongoing adventure, and there is certainly plenty of it if you’re willing to follow along. It works well on a number of levels.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Devin Gray

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Carsick Cars & Snapline - Two Debut Albums – These two closely related bands represent Beijing's current underground rock scene quite nicely. Both are trios, and they share two musicians: Li Weisi (bass) and Li Qing (drums in Carsick Cars,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues