Ray LeVier

Ray's Way

origin 82522

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Don Lerman, Cadence

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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 group member, including Abercrombie's "Ralph's Piano Waltz," bassist Francois Moutin's "Echoing," and Locke's energetic "Ray's Way." Also from this unit are two strong titles from Levier's pen, "Manahatta," a rapid swinger with Locke compelling on interesting chord changes; and "Song for Nury," a top-of-the-charts ballad conveyed beautifully and soulfully by David Binney on alto. Guitarist Mike Stern adds an edge to the four selections in which he appears in trio and quartet form, plaing forcefully in a Rock vein on "You Never Know," and displaying rapid-fire lines on his own "Bait Tone Blues" and on Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet." This fine recording ends on a note of tenderness with Stern's ethereal ballad "Wing and a Prayer" stated with care and feeling by Stern and acoustic bassist Ned Mann.








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