Drummer Ray Marchica had a simple goal for the pianoless quartet date In the Ring. Marchica simply wanted to go in the studio as a leader and record some of his favorite songs (both standards and originals) with a few of his favorite players. The results range from straight-ahead to mildly funky. Tenor saxophonist Teodross Avery emerges as the most impressive soloist, but guitarist Rodney Jones and bassist Lonnie Plaxico make strong contributions too. While Marchica takes a fair amount of solo space, he does not dominate the music. Among the many highlights are "Billie's Bounce," the up-tempo blues "9H5," Rodney Jones' hard bop original "Minor Mishap," and a surprisingly fast version of "Summertime." Marchica more than achieves his goal, putting together a well-paced and highly enjoyable set of first-class jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow