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Time's Tales

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iTunes Review

After backing countless other musicians, first-call drummer Jeff Ballard makes his long-overdue debut as a leader on Time’s Tales. Chemistry is generally a combination of unique players, and this album is no different. While the versatile Ballard sounds like he’s playing a different drumset on each song, Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke and Puerto Rico–born saxophonist Miguel Zenon both bring their roots into their sound. Loueke is particularly notable here, using a variety of techniques and textures while also playing some of his prettiest lines ever (check him out on the trio’s loving cover of “Man I Love”). Often the melodic key, Zenon is highlighted on Silvio Rodriguez’s bolero “El Reperador de Sueños,” which uses the original’s Cuban rhythms as a launchpad for the saxophonist. Ranging far and wide, the trio even do a thrashy take on Queens of the Stone Age’s “Hangin’ Tree,” which is as brilliant as it is surprising. “Western Wren” is actually based on a transcription of the bird’s call. This is most definitely an exciting and ambitious debut.

Customer Reviews

Inspired and deeply rooted

The Jeff Ballard Trio; Lionel Loueke: guitar and voice, Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone, Jeff Ballard: drums and percussion, present an inspired and deeply rooted landscape of sound, texture and rhythm that draws from tradition and innovation in their debut release “Time’s Tales”. It is a joy to hear the interplay of the trio in this simple setting that, at times, expands into what sounds like a small orchestra and other times pulls you into a very personal conversation.

Powerful, Daring, and going where no Jazz artist has gone before!

Jeff Ballard is someone within my repertoire that I would hold at a high standard. Being very picky about my albums, this is one that entranced and delighted me. Mr. Ballard gives a groovy debut that is sure to inspire many other artists blooming from everywhere. It is quite hard to explain how fantastic and fresh this music sounds. It is no regret buying this album. Many years from now, I'll look back on it and remember how it impacted me. Definitely might be the best jazz album of 2014!


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Drummer/percussionist Jeff Ballard was born in Southern California in 1963 and grew up in Santa Cruz, CA. He recalls lying in bed listening to the recorded music his father would play on weekends, including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, Sergio Mendez, and Milton Nascimento. Ballard was originally influenced by Joe Morello, Sonny Payne, Mel Lewis, Ed Thigpen, Elvin Jones, and Ed Blackwell. He graduated from high school in 1981 and enrolled at Cabrillo Community College...
Full Bio
Time's Tales, Jeff Ballard
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  • $8.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 10, 2014

Customer Ratings