Jeff Ballard Trio: Times Tales

Drummer Jeff Ballard is best known for his work with Brad Mehldau’s trio as well as his work with FLY, and this is his first as a bona fide “leader.” While still in a trio format, this one is quite unorthodox as it includes guitarist Lionel Loueke and alto saxist Miguel Zenon, so there’s a lot of intriguing directions with each tune. You get music ranging from luscious ballads such as “The Man I Love” to almost heavy metal as on the head banging “Hangin’ Tree,” which has Loueke playing like you’ve never heard before. A couple of free improves will keep you on your toes, and with Zenon in the mix, there’s always room for some latin sounds, as on the bolero “El Reperador de Suenos” which is filled with Afro-Cuban moods. Ballard displays deft alacrity on all of these moods as on the moody “Dal (A Rhythm Song)” and the atmospheric “Western Wren.” Impressive variety and technical agility.

Okeh Records/Sony Masterworks

Leave a Reply