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 Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Under One Moon CD/LP/Track Review
Under One Moon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Doubles, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Doubles, Vol. 1
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Outsidethebox CD/LP/Track Review
Outsidethebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 16, 2018
Read There Are Stars In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review
There Are Stars In Brooklyn
by James Fleming
Published: October 16, 2018
Read "Music in the Room" CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read "The Berlin Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Sextet (Parker) 1993" CD/LP/Track Review Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "I Am A Man" CD/LP/Track Review I Am A Man
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Bismuth" CD/LP/Track Review Bismuth
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "Red October" CD/LP/Track Review Red October
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: April 11, 2018