How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
World-class drummer Jeff Ballard (Chick Corea's New Trio, Brad Mehldau Trio) goes above and beyond the call of duty on his first album as a leader. Celebrated for his modern jazz drumming, spanning bop and the outside spectrum, he expands his wares on this eventful trio release by flawlessly engineering a consortium of high-spirited pieces. With Ballard's esteemed associates, saxophonist Miguel Zenon
, they frame the jazz idiom on Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, classical and other stylistic genre-hopping forums. Each composition poses a set of varying array of propositions, whether the trio forges a loose-groove vibe or whips up excitement via zippy unison choruses and tangles with the free spectrum. Therefore, it's world-jazz that packs a KO punch. And the trio looms as a formidable multitasking machine with its mammoth bag of tricks and cunning maneuvers.
"Hangin' Tree" by the rock band Queens Of The Stone Age is an insatiable jazz-metal excursion, where Loueke puts the proverbial pedal to the metal and sounds like a cross between Jimi Hendrix
and metal guitar hero, Michael Schenker. With a linear onslaught, the guitarist's high-strung, distorted lines impart a doomsday focus atop Ballard's bristling march progressions and spunky backbeats. The band also intimates an intensifying groove, teetering on roads established by vintage King Crimson
. Meanwhile Zenon's audacious soloing over the top is rooted in a modern jazz constitution amid the guitarist's screeching upper register notes and piercing chord clusters. Ultimately, Time's Tales pronounces masterpiece-like qualities.
Personnel: Jeff Ballard: drums and percussion; Lionel Loueke: guitar and vocals;
Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone