Dan Cray Trio

Dan Cray Trio

 Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Chicago-based Dan Cray Trio is a rarity in today's jazz world: a young band that uses a collaborative mentality to develop extensive arrangements with maturity well beyond their years. While never abandoning the tradition, they nevertheless have a keen eye to the future.


The Dan Cray Trio is unique in that it relies on a collaborative effort rather than the singular vision that is more typically found in a piano trio. This in turn has allowed the group to rise above the pick-up band mentality that has come to dominate the jazz landscape. Because each musician is equally invested in the development of the music, the Trio is able to match the intensity and clarity of purpose that define the best jazz artists. Their innovative arrangements and group dynamic have led Cadence Magazine to rate them "as interesting, if not more, than the celebrated Bad Plus." The Trio's music has been featured on the hit television show "Gossip Girl," Michael Keaton's new movie "The Merry Gentleman," and the radio program Eight Forty-Eight with host Steve Edwards on Chicago's NPR station WBEZ. They've performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at venues around the country to critical success, and can be seen regularly around Chicago with the city's top vocalists and instrumentalists. The Trio has also been able to transfer this focus into tangible success, as their last 2 CDs ("No One" and "Save Us") spent over 10 weeks on the National and College Jazz Charts, while Chicago's NPR station WBEZ named each among the year's best in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

Dan Cray
Pianist Dan Cray is one of the most dynamic young jazz artists working today. Jazz Radio Berlin has hailed him as a "key figure when it comes to escorting jazz into the new millennium," while the Indianapolis Star enthused that his playing had "both the depth and the playfulness characteristic of jazz piano at its best." Dan was a finalist for both the 2004 American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship and the 2003 Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, and has performed around the world with his group and others. For the past 10 years, Dan has led a group with good friends bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte. Together they've released four CDs as the Dan Cray Trio; Who Cares (2001), No One (Blujazz 2003), Save Us (Blujazz 2005), and Over Here Over Heard (Crawdad 2008). Dan has also been privileged to work with a number of other established jazz musicians and ensembles, including Eddie Johnson, Bobby Broom, Ira Sullivan, Orbert Davis, Eric Schneider, George Fludas, Kurt Elling, Ari Brown and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. He also works frequently in a duo context with saxophonist Geof Bradfield. In early 2009, Dan joined the Chicago Improvisers Orchestra led by esteemed composer Elbio Barilari. Performances of multi-movement suites dedicated to Lincoln and Obama were performed at Millenium Park in Chicago and at other venues across the city. Dan is currently splitting his time between New York and Chicago, continuing to pursue his career while working on a Masters degree at NYU. He completed his undergraduate work at Northwestern University, where he studied with Donald Isaak and Michael Kocour.

Clark Sommers

Based in Chicago, Clark is a highly in demand bassist who has toured and performed extensively throughout the world. He has performed with Cedar Walton, Kevin Mahogany, Kurt Elling, Ira Sullivan, Frank Wess, Charles McPherson, Von Freeman, Lin Haliday, Maurice Brown, Bobby Broom, Jeff Parker, Ron Perrillo, Jodie Christian, Michael Weiss, George Fludas, Dana Hall, Kimberly Gordon, Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls, and The Chicago Jazz Orchestra. For two years, Clark performed and toured with Sony Recording Artists “The Mighty Blue Kings,” an internationally recognized rhythm and blues band. Clark was the bassist on their critically acclaimed album “Live from Chicago,” and received significant local and national media exposure. During his stint with MBK, he also performed at international jazz festivals in the US, Ireland, France and Canada, sharing bills with Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, B.B. King, Dr. John, The Staples Singers, Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy. Clark's touring experience also extends to Asia. In Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea he performed with the Eden Atwood Quartet.

Clark completed his undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies at California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with bass masters Charlie Haden and Darek Oles. While living in Los Angeles, Clark performed with Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, the Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, Joe La Barbara Sextet, Los Angeles Jazz Quartet, Kris Tiner, Anthony Enns, Jason Mears, and Larry Koonse.

Greg Wyser-Pratte

Drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte has enjoyed a wide variety of musical experiences despite his relatively late start with percussion instruments. Coming from a musical family, Greg was encouraged to explore his interest in the creative arts. He started on piano and played trumpet for nine years before discovering his love for jazz drumming at age 18. Greg enrolled at Northwestern University, where he received a well-rounded musical education and had the opportunity to perform with jazz masters including Ron Blake, Ray Bro


The Dan Cray Trio: "Who Cares" (2001)
The Dan Cray Trio: "No One" (2003)
Marc Courtney Johnson: "Marc Johnson and the Dan Cray Trio" (2004)
John Goldman: "In Walked Pierre" (2005)
The Dan Cray Trio: "Save Us" (2005)
Erin McDougald: "Meeting Place" (2006)
Derrick Stout Quartet: "Life In Burma" (2007)
Marc Courtney Johnson: "Dream of Sunny Days" (2008)
Derrick Stout Quartet: "Melodies Under the Mistletoe" (2008)
The Dan Cray Trio: "Over Here/Over Heard" (2008)

Set List

Tunes from the albums and recent additions!