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In today’s crowded jazz market, it’s an achievement to come up with a signature group sound. And yet, this is just one of the wonderful things immediately apparent on Devin Gray’s Dirigo Rataplan. An amazing percussionist, Gray’s stunningly detailed playing sounds like a cross between Fritz Hauser and Roy Haynes. He flashes some serious compositional chops as well. Dirigo Rataplan is comprised of eight bright, restless originals that are complex and intimate, brainy and engaging, and occasionally a bit outré. Making all of this great music come alive is Gray’s phenomenal quartet.

Dave Wayne

All About Jazz


Drummer, Composer and Bandleader

An artist interested in multiple musical directions and one who strives for quality and sincerity in his work. His exciting energy has compelled him towards many different musical directions and projects. Considered by his contemporaries as cutting edge, Gray shows promise as an artist that will not only move the music forward, but one who will share his unique musical vision with the world of music.

Devin Gray’s fresh approach to modern drumming has enabled him to play with many of the worlds great jazz musicians. He has performed and recorded with innovative musicians of contrasting styles and backgrounds such as: David Liebman, Tony Malaby, Gary Thomas, Ingrid Jensen, Dave Burrell, Dave Ballou, Michael Formanek, Nate Wooley, Stephan Crump, George Garzone, Chris Speed, Drew Gress, Sam Rivers, Ralph Alessi, John O’Gallagher, Ellery Eskelin, Kris Davis, Ted Rosenthal, Matt Mitchell, Satoko Fujii, Uri Caine, Andrew D’Angelo, Vardan Ovsepian, Angelica Sanchez, as well as many others.

Devin has been fortunate to perform in many places around the globe. He is a top call young drummer in many modern jazz circles in New York City. Current leader projects include two quartets: “Dirigo Rataplan” featuring Ellery Eskelin, Dave Ballou, and Michael Formanek, and “RelativE ResonancE” featuring Chris Speed, Kris Davis, and Chris Tordini. He is currently living, playing, and composing in Brooklyn, New York.

What People Are Saying…

Drummer Devin Gray has built an impressive resume and a well- deserved reputation as both an improviser and instrumentalist. His first CD as a leader, Dirigo Rataplan shows that he is not a slouch in the composition or bandleader department either.

Hrayr Attarian

All About Jazz - April 5th, 2012

A product of much inward reflection about the non-hierarchical nature of sound, this {Most Definitely} is a kaleidoscopic work distinguished by its rapid-fire turnover of ideas and broad spectrum of extremes. The 23 tracks vary significantly in pace, density and attack, and for the most part are scarcely 90 seconds in duration. The two notable exceptions are Soldier On, Milford (an epic and at times propulsive dedication to the late Milford Graves), and the brilliant Fritz Hauser-esque abstractions of Tough Love – at around 20 minutes each, the two pieces account for more than half of the playing time.

Fred Grand

Jazz Journal - June 30th 2023

Devin Gray is a polymath: inventive drummer, intrepid composer, and chief of a burgeoning record label, Rataplan. The New York-based Gray continues his ascension with Melt All the Guns, an electrifying summit of three masters at the tops of their crafts—the other two being trumpeter Ralph Alessi and pianist Angelica Sanchez—joining forces to stand up to the United States’ tragic epidemic of gun violence. The album’s title might suggest a recording on which frustrations boil over into blurts and squeals. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The protest music that Gray, Alessi, and Sanchez make is akin to meditative paintings, vivid in scope with microscopic-level attention to detail.

Brad Cohan

Jazz Times - July 21, 2021

An amazing percussionist, Gray’s stunningly detailed playing sounds like a cross between Fritz Hauser and Roy Haynes.
—Dave Wayne, All About Jazz

Dave Wayne

All About Jazz - November 20th, 2012

You had to figure that master music manipulator Devin Gray, 40, would wind up doing a solo drum album. After all, he’s recorded a drum duet with Gerald Cleaver, 27 Licks, in 2020. His politics were evident in 2021 with his Melt All The Guns trio. He debuted in 2012 with the forward-thinking Dingo Rataplan quartet, revisiting that format in 2018. On Most Definitely (Rataplan Records), he’s alone with his drum set and his electronics, masterfully integrating the two spheres over 23 tracks in just under an hour.

Mike Greenblatt

The Aquarian - August 22nd 2023