Ray LeVier: Against All Odds

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 series of one-bar breaks on one track, and comps so subtly that even the bass (played by François Moutin or Ned Mann) frequently dominates him. “I wanted it to sound like a band, not a bunch of hired guns,” says LeVier. “I didn’t want it to sound like a drummer’s album, but like an album.”

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