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Gray, Devin / Dave Ballou / Ryan Ferreira : Socialytics (Rataplan Records)

Socialytics signifies analysis of social media to reach out for human interaction, here through NY composer and drummer Devin Gray's music representing sonic examples of those attainments, heard through stellar trio playing with trumpeter Dave Ballou and guitarist Ryan Ferreira, the latter adding electronic rhythmic components to their creative conversation.

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product information:

Label: Rataplan Records
Catalog ID: RR005
Squidco Product Code: 30546

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold sleeve in a clear plastic sleeve
Recorded at Douglass Recording, in Brooklyn, New York, on October 27th, 2019, by Juanma Trujillo.


Devin Gray-drums, compositions

Dave Ballou-trumpet

Ryan Ferreira-guitar

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Artist Biographies:

"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 America's 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, Uri Caine, Andrew D'Angelo, Vardan Ovsepian, Bill McHenry as well as many others.

Devin has been fortunate to perform in many places around the globe and continues to make peace with his audiences. He is a top call young drummer in many modern jazz circles in New York City as well as multiple cities on the East Coast of America. 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."

- (Devin Gray Website)

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Trumpeter/Improviser/Composer/Educator, Dave Ballou has released ten CD's as a leader and co-leader. He has performed or recorded with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Denman Maroney, Maria Schnieder, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Kahlil, Don Preston and an extensive list of jazz personalities. Dave has performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2 with the Bella Musica Orchestra of NY, Larry Austin's Improvisations with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Gunther Schuller's Journey into Jazz with the Spokane Symphony and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He appeared as a featured soloist for the premiere of Schuller's Encounters, a composition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jordan Hall.The Meridian Arts Ensemble, The TILT Brass ensemble and the Monarch Trio have all performed his compositions. His work for solo trumpet, "Samskara" has been recorded by Jon Nelson for release in 2010. In 2009, Dave received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. In 2010, Universtiy of Michigan French Horn professor, Adam Unsworth, performed an adaptation of "Samskara" for horn.

Dave is a Professor of Music at Towson University and coordinator of the Jazz/Commercial music division. He teaches classes in Jazz history, Jazz theory and improvisation, Jazz arranging, studio jazz trumpet and improvisation for all instrumentalists, jazz composition and coaches small jazz ensembles including the improvisation ensemble. He has taught at the Litchfield Jazz Camp, the Maryland Summer Jazz Camp, the Maine Jazz Camp and The Banff Institute.

He earned a BM (magna cum laude) from Berklee College of Music in 1986 and a MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.Born in Peace Dale, Rhode Island Dave was drawn to the trumpet at age 11 and quickly was excited by the sounds of jazz trumpeters Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw, Maynard Ferguson, Clark Terry, the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Orchestra as well as classical trumpeterers John Willbraham and Bud Herseth. His early trumpet studies were with RI philharmonic trumpeter Julio Tancredi. Dave began working gigs at the age of 16 playing society gigs in the mansions of Newport and Italian Festival parades in Providence, RI.After brief study at the University of Rhode Island, Dave attended the Berklee College of Music. There he studied with Herb Pomeroy, Greg Hopkins, Jimmy Mosher and Greg Fritze. Other teachers have been George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook, Laurie Frink, Charles Schluter, Jeff Stout and Paul Caputo.

Tours with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey (led by Buddy Morrow) and Woody Herman (led by Frank Tiberi) followed studies at Berklee. Dave then attended the University of New Hampshire and received a Master's of Art's degree in 1992. At UNH he came under the direct influence of the jazz great Clark Terry.

Dave worked many types of gigs in the Boston area during and after his studies at UNH. He was also a member of the bands Orange Then Blue and the Either/Orchestra.

In 1994 Dave moved to New York City. Seeking a community in which he could grow as an artist and be surrounded by like-minded musicians, Dave settled into Brooklyn and took part in the vibrant scene there. In NY Dave played Broadway shows , recording sessions and many jazz concerts with some of his heroes: Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Tim Berne, Billy Hart, Dewey Redman, Michael Formanek and Dave Liebman.

Dave joined the faculty of Towson Universtiy in the fall of 2004. He became to coordinator of the Jazz and Commercial Music division in 2006 and has worked to reconnect the Jazz program with the community of musicians influenced by former TU music professor Hank Levy. Earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the 2009-2010 academic year Dave has become recognized as an innovative pedagouge in the teaching of improvisation and composition. His students have become leaders in the improvised music scene in Baltimore.

He continues to perform with innovative improvisors and composers. Recently appearing with on recordings by Denman Maroney, Mario Pavone and Grammy nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Dave continues to develop as an instrumentalist, composer and teacher."

-Dave Ballou Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Streambait 04:46

2. Chatbot 05:13

3. Cassiopeia 04:59

4. Socialytics 01:51

5. Phone Ears 03:14

6. Infotainment 04:14
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"A few weeks ago drummer/composer Devin Gray released the thoroughly engaging Socialytics. The 24 minute release is also a powerful one, driven by his trio with guitarist Ryan Ferreria and trumpeter David Ballou.

Long time associates of Grey, Ferreria is a nuanced sound explorer who notably worked with Tim Berne's Snakeoil on the 2015 release You've Been Watching Me, and the renowned Ballou has played in Dirigo Rataplan and incidentally released a new album on the same day (see: The MacroQuarktet - The Complete Night: Live at the Stone NYC).

Just judging from the musicians involved should be enough to give you at least the idea that something special should be happening musically, but before I get into that, I'd like to start with album's cover image of a melting iceberg behind the ambiguous technical portmanteau of a title. Socialytics ... what to think? A comment on technology's incessant encroachment into our lives? The iceberg ... a reference to our seemingly inevitable ecological doom? Are we're standing on the melting ice, tweeting while the world burns? So many possibilities, but I should be careful, as it could also be just a neat picture, and here I am trying to guess Grey's impressions of the state of world.

However, what a state we are in! Most of emails lately begin with something like "I hope you are doing well despite the unusual circumstances" or whatever the acceptable Business English at the moment is, but like it or not, the Corona Crisis has wrought changes and accelerated previously creeping trends, exponentially. Digitization across every aspect of live: work (for those who can), schooling, concerts, and even social life, are all suddenly online. Pieces had been there before, but the tsunami came and now we're swimming in the pixels.

Ok, this was a digression, let's get to the music. 'Streambait' starts the album off with a threatening build up - the trumpet squeezes out a note that leads into a melody, which is shadowed by the guitar, then Gray adds a splash of percussive color, and were into this expectant, atmospheric space. Ferreria's tone is liquid, and his chords choices are open ended and the arpeggios don't easily resolve.

To my ears, the tune 'Chatbot' seems to contain some of the systematic logic that can result in surreal conversational hiccups, like you may experience with a actual chatbot while you try to resolve an issue with an online order. The tune begins with Ballou offering a clear melodic statement and Ferreria responding using some sort of ring-modulating effect, which in turns helps create (possible unwittingly) an allusion to AI chatting back. They are communicating, but on different wavelengths. The track also gets pretty intense, like the man and the machine are getting worked up.

It is possible to go on and on, but in the spirit of the album, which in a quick 24 minutes makes quite an impression, I'll come to a quick conclusion. The read on Socialytics is that Gray has pulled together another tight, imaginative trio able to help extrapolate and amplify his musical ideas. You can almost imagine this long EP length recording as a dashboard of indicators of a musician with a lot of intriguing thoughts - musical and otherwise - to share."-Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective

"A few years ago I started researching ideas of how this music will remain as social music. I didn't realize that soon the world would be radically changing at an unprecedented pace in the very near future. I discovered the phrase "Socialytics" very organically as we are all currently living in a state of increasing amounts of attention toward technology. For me this means that computers and phones should aid the simple goals of connecting and organizing ourselves to make more music with wonderful humans. From my view the title of this recording is as much of a personal goal of human interaction through music, all the while juxtaposed with a lighter phraseology usage of modern social computer analytics trends. Ultimately the goal is to connect and to share with one another; and how lucky we musicians are to be able to do this when we can. Many common assumptions can arise quickly from the cover art's environmental implications. These social effects need to be addressed more seriously as we are generally moving around the globe more frequently than ever. After a more investigative look into the album title's neologism, it quickly offers a different path into some current philosophical applications of full time performing artists' minds. The musical output presented on this recording yields sonic examples of Socialytics. As for the musical results, I am always beyond happy to be in the presence of these two great artists. For many years I have been able to share time with them while traveling, socializing, cooking, joking, and ultimately experiencing making music together. I am very grateful to be able to share some of the results of our experiences with you. I look forward to the day when we can all be together at the same time again, feeling the vibrations in real time, and of course while increasing our Socialytics. Everyone relies on everyone. Thank you for listening."-Devin Gray, April 30th 2020

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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