Ray LeVier

Ray's Way

Origin 82522

Ray is amazing! He's put together a wonderful CD that feels great fueled by his fantastic playing, inspired musicianship with a fine array of cats! ENJOY IT!
Adam Nussbaum

New York drummer Ray LeVier brings together some of the world's most creative jazz voices for his debut recording as a leader. With guitarists Mike Stern and John Abercrombie, saxophonist Dave Binney, vibist Joe Locke, and Francois Moutin on bass, among others, LeVier has produced a stirring and cohesive album of original music. From the hard-hitting grooves on several of Mike Stern's contributions to the flowing and fresh reading of John Abercrombie's classic "Ralph's Piano Waltz," Ray's Way stands as an inspired introduction to a gifted composer, drummer and producer. Besides his freelance work, LeVier has recorded and toured for over ten years with the eclectic and powerful singer/songwriter KJ Denhert.

Track Listing:

1. Ray's Way 5:35
2. Manahatta 4:05
3. You Never Know 9:25
4. Song for Nury 5:51
5. Blues in the Closet 8:05
6. Bait Tone Blues 8:24
7. Ralph's Piano Waltz 7:24
8. Echoing 5:47
9. Wing and a Prayer 7:27


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

Production Info:

Produced by Ray LeVier
Engineered by Rich Tozzoli at
KNOOP Studios, River Edge, NJ, 9/25/07
Mastered by Chris Athens
Photography by Stanley Tomczak
Cover design by John Bishop

Reviews of Ray's Way

All About Jazz (C. Michael Bailey)
If drumming is the subatomic glue that holds a jazz performance together, then Ray Levier is the Einstein of jazz drumming. On his debut recording, Ray's Way, Levier provides a veritable masters class on the seamless and relative incorporation of drums into the melody of a song. Add to this that Idit Shner joins Levier in redefining the blues in ja ...

All Music Guide (Adam Greenburg)
Ray Levier had spent plenty of time as a studio musician, a sideman, and a touring accompanying drummer. Here he finally lets loose as a bandleader for the first time, taking with him a set of fairly well-known musicians and a generally outstanding band. While Levier is the nominal bandleader, his approach tends toward the quieter side of affairs f ...

All About Jazz (Dan McClenaghan)
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 ...

JazzTimes, May 2009 (Thomas Conrad)
Lots of young musicians go out and get some established people to play on their debut recordings as leaders. Ray LeVier got strong ones: Joe Locke on vibes, either John Abercrombie or Mike Stern on guitar, Dave Binney on alto saxophone and Francois Moutin on bass. But very few debut albums create such tight, committed, synergistic ensembles. This b ...

JazzTimes (Michael J. West)
Drummer Ray LeVier has chops. His Web page includes video of a drum clinic near his home in New York's Hudson Valley that places his virtuosity beyond question, as do his heavy beats behind singer-songwriter KJ Denhert. But on his postbop-oriented leader debut, Ray's Way (Origin), LeVier epitomizes understatement; he takes no solos, save for a seri ...

Audiophile Audition (Jan P. Dennis)
If you want to make a splash with your debut jazz disc, you could hardly do better than to follow the lead of drummer Ray Levier. First, he's assembled a powerhouse band featuring some of the best jazzers out there who play their butts off. Second, his disc features some very strong compositions from his bandmates, who are all fine composers themse ...

The Voice, Sacramento (Dick Crockett)
After a few selections, you realize it's a different cd and Ray Levier's personal history tells a story. It's not at all pleasant, but shows this young man's determination to follow his bliss. Ray played drums at a young age on a drum set his father had in the basement, who showed him some early tricks. Then Ray suffered third degree burns, wh ...

Cadence (Don Lerman)
Leader and drummer Ray Levier utilizes a top-notch cast of musicians in different group combinations ranging from trio to quintet size in this excellent concert of mostly original music. The pairing of John Abercrombie and Joe Locke on guitar and vibes occurs on five of the nine selections, performing thought-provoking originals from each core gro ...





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