All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Jeff Ballard Trio: Time's Tales

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Drummer Jeff Ballard sure knows how to pick his playmates. In drafting one-of-a-kind guitarist Lionel Loueke and the focused-yet-irrepressible Miguel Zenon on saxophone, Ballard managed to create the most exciting trio to emerge in recent memory.

While this album is Ballard's long-awaited leader debut, it's more tempting to dub it a leaderless or leader-heavy date. Yes, Ballard is technically at the helm, but a collective sense of music making is in the air and each man is assertive enough to rival the others. It doesn't matter whether the trio is taking a rhythmically loose and out-of-focus approach on a standard ("The Man I Love"), driving the hell out of a Queens Of The Stone Age song ("Hangin' Tree"), or merging a New Orleans vibe with tropical interests and calypso tides ("Beat Interests"); in all instances it operates with one mind and one purpose, though it speaks many languages. In fact, it's this polygot approach to creationism that makes this music so compelling. On the surface, the trio has Loueke's West African roots, Zenon's Puerto Rican musical heritage and Ballard's deep experiences in all manner of jazz to contend with, but that's just the surface. When these three play together these lines and languages blur, mutate, and emerge anew.

Rhythm, not surprisingly, is the core strength of this trio. Songs like Loueke's "Virgin Forest" and Silvio Rodriguez's "El Reparador De Suenos" show what this group is really capable of when each player slices and dices his way through the others, but the trio also manages to hold interest and turn heads when things appear to float, expand and contract.

Time's Tales isn't just a strong debut and a charged trio date; it's an "Album Of The Year" contender, and considering it only hit shelves five weeks into 2014, that's saying a lot.

Track Listing: Virgin Forest; Western Wren (A Bird Call); Beat Street; The Man I Love; Free 1; Hangin’ Tree; Dal (A Rhythm Song); El Reparador de Suenos; Mivakpola; Free 3.

Personnel: Jeff Ballard: drums and percussion; Lionel Loueke: guitar and voice; Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone.

Title: Time's Tales | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Okeh

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Love + Time + Divination CD/LP/Track Review
Love + Time + Divination
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2018
Read Gleb Kolyadin CD/LP/Track Review
Gleb Kolyadin
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 22, 2018
Read NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil// CD/LP/Track Review
NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 22, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 22, 2018
Read SuperClusters CD/LP/Track Review
SuperClusters
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Your Queen Is A Reptile CD/LP/Track Review
Your Queen Is A Reptile
by Chris May
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Antidote" CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Urban Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Urban Soul
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Scarlett Roses" CD/LP/Track Review Scarlett Roses
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "It's Always 9.30 In Zog" CD/LP/Track Review It's Always 9.30 In Zog
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Sovereign" CD/LP/Track Review Sovereign
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017