142

Dave Ballou: Amongst Ourselves

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
While it may be unfair to the musicians involved to make comparisons to others, it often aids in better defining a chosen player's given point of departure. With that said, let it be known that trumpeter Dave Ballou is a remarkable new discovery whose playing falls in the same general orbit of such forward-thinking men as Tim Hagans and Dave Douglas. Ballou, a New England resident and jazz educator, has played with many name artists including Maria Schneider, Duke Robillard, Clark Terry, Vic Juris, and Steve LaSpina. His recorded work with the last named gentleman provided the impetus for Ballou's Amongst Ourselves, his debut set as a leader for SteepleChase.

The pianoless quartet heard here plays music that pushes the envelope, with the influence of the classic Ornette Coleman quartet being an obvious inspiration. Their concept of time is one that is elastic in nature; drummer Jeff Williams more than not states the pulse in an indirect manner. Further assurance of individuality is guaranteed by a program that consists entirely of pieces written by Ballou and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby. "The Great Matter" is a typical piece in that the "head" of the tune is slowly stated by Ballou and Malaby in rubato fashion, with drummer Jeff Williams providing splashes of color here and there. Then a series of collective improvisations between the front line partners develops before a restatement of the lead melody takes us out. "Line", the longest track here, begins with a poly-rhythmic solo from Williams to be followed by a fanfare from Ballou and Malaby and searching improvisations from the former that recall the work of Kenny Wheeler.

For the maiden voyage of an unknown artist, Amongst Ourselves is an audacious and chancy statement. Nothing about this date smacks of commercial concerns and while there are many reference points available to the astute listener (some of which are mentioned above), Ballou's music takes many hearings in order to digest and process. Since the release of this disc overseas, the trumpeter has cut another SteepleChase set recording with just a bassist and drummer, suggesting that he continues to challenge himself in an attempt to further the music and not wallow in the past. During these time of "cookie cutter" jazz, we can be grateful to him for that.

Track Listing: All About Joey, Blake's Vision, Amongst Ourselves, Phone Queen, Boom Boom, The Great Matter, 7.5, Line, J.W., Bidu, Skuds (66:22)

Personnel: Dave Ballou- trumpet, Tony Malaby- tenor saxophone, Michael Formanek- bass, Jeff Williams- drums

| Record Label: SteepleChase Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

Dave Ballou Events

Date Event Time
Apr22Sat Formanek Ensemble Kolossus
NYU Washington, DC, Abramson Family Auditorium
Washington, DC
8:00pm
$15-20

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Sings the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Sings the Blues
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Swong" CD/LP/Track Review Swong
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political and Spiritual Jazz 1970 to 1974" CD/LP/Track Review Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political and Spiritual Jazz 1970...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Fusion Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Fusion Machine
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!