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Jeff Ballard Trio: Time's Tales

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Hangin' Tree"

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 and guitarist Lionel Loueke, 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.

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

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