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, while sleeping in a clubhouse, a candle fell and ignited Ray's sleeping bag, and he suffered 3rd degree burning and the loss of digits on both his hands. Knowing this and not wanting to fill other significant details, just listen and you'll understand, that Ray Levier is totally committed, and there are group of prominent musicians, 'who got his back.'
Drummer Ray Levier starts off with "Ray's Way" and you know you're about to bop. Ray Levier has quite crew joining in with an open by world class bassist, Francois Moutin, saxophonist Dave Binney playing some of his most savvy cuts, yet, guitarist John Abercrombie is most comfortable and with Joe Locke, whose in on this explosion of doing the best at what (musicians) they do. Guitarist Mike Stern is the most sonic on "You Never Know." This is what the MC-5 wanted to do forty years ago and achieved a proximity, but this jam with Dave Binney's wail, Mike Stern, turning up the amps, and Ray Levier's perfect beat, running down the dynamics, makes this a killer jam!
Oscar Pettiford's, "Blues In The Closet." There's more to magic with "Bait Tone Blues," another explosive piece, with Stern's ebullient guitar licks, David Binney's in credible saxophone work, surrounded by Levier's all encompassing
rhythms. "Ralph's Piano Waltz" marks an interesting new signature, with melodic message that "Ray's Way" cannot be trifled with... Again. Let your ears tell a complete story, for Ray Levier is sensational and what inspires his determination is words to come by. And Michael Stern's guitar message on "Wing And A Prayer" is inspirational.
Come on, now. You have a young drummer, who suffered a horrifying accident and continued the pursuit of his dream. He has musicians like John Abercrombie, Francois Moutin, Joe Locke, Dave Binney in his corner. Don't believe anything you read or hear, listen and make your own decision. Ray Levier has true grit and determination. The hype is on again, so brace yourself. This is only the beginning for this young fluent extraordinary talent on drums.