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Jeff Ballard Fairgrounds: Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, July 10, 2013

Ian Patterson By

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A standing ovation greeted the end of the set, and although no encore was forthcoming—too often crowds believe an encore is an automatic right, as opposed to a gift rewarding clamor—nobody was complaining.

For twenty plus years Ballard has been a little in the shadows of the giants for whom he has kept time, from Ray Charles to Chick Corea, Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau. Maybe now his moment has arrived to step out as a leader and Fairgrounds could well be the perfect vehicle. If the quartet sounds this good after just a handful of gigs, it's exciting to imagine where it might be a year or two down the line.

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