American drummer Devin Gray (who splits his time between Brooklyn and Berlin) thinks that the world needs more listening, and by listening – deeper, clearer and more honest, not only to human words but also to artistic articulations and sonic actions, humanity can achieve much more in harmony with one another and our world will be a better place. Gray’s debut solo drums album Most Definitely, a project «roughly 40 years in the making», is his humble offering in this direction.
Most Definitely offers a spectrum of 23 mostly short pieces yet distinct and layered percussive textures, representing Gray’s tendency to work outside traditional tonal and universal harmonic architectures as well as his attempt to blend improvisation within compositional structures, with great attention to detail. «My whole body says that all sounds and options are created equal, and yet it is most importantly about the precision and placement of each sound in its relation to how one lives that become the reasons for musical end results», Gray states. Gray adds that he wanted to out himself «in the place of honest musical meditation, a space where I lose myself to the music and truly let the music take over me as the vessel structure that only music can do for humans».
Most Definitely was created in a single 6-hour recording day when Gray experimented with short improvisations with distinct textures and grooves, moving organically between free jazz to the free improvised, sparse and subtle, meditative texture (the 18-minute of «Tough Love») and even adopting electronica syntax and punkish approaches. He lists the drummers who influenced his work, among them Milford Graves (to whom the 20-minute masterful suite «Soldier on, Milford» is dedicated), Ronald Shannon Jackson, Marilyn Mazur, Ed Blackwell (the brief «Blackwell Magic» is dedicated to him), Evelyn Glennie, Gerald Cleaver, Gerry Hemingway, Ches Smith, Michael Zerang, Jason Nazary, Warren Smith, Pierre Favre, Susie Ibarra, and Tatsuta Nakatani. This captivating listening experience proves that Gray was not only a perceptive listener for the aforementioned masters but that most definitely, he became a highly creative and thoughtful musician.
Devin Gray (dr)