Saturday, May 26, 2018

USA: Jeff Ballard "Fairgrounds" On tour: January 26 - February 2 2019 new album release (OKeh/ Sony)

Jeff Ballard

On tour: January 26 - February 2
 2019 new album release (OKeh/ Sony)


Jeff Ballard Fairgrounds will release their first recording at the end of January 2019. The recording is a selection of the music played during a tour the band made thru Europe. All of the concerts of the tour were recorded in high fidelity and this first release will be a selection of music from those concerts. It truly catches the excitement, intimacies, and inventions in music, revealing the collective and individual  greatness in each musician in the group. This recording clearly shows the freedom and capability the band has to go anywhere musically.
They ride the rides. They take a turn riding all of them. These rides, which make up this amusement park, should be built in places perfect, well studied. It takes a certain strength to build, to manage, and to coordinate. These and other qualities Mr Ballard must have thought about, a cultured and refined musician, when he decided to call his latest creation Fairgrounds. Whomever would like to may participate, the only requirement is that they are emotionally committed. Ballard started from there, with friends, colleagues, who would assure him the right chemistry: Lionel Loueke on guitar (Herbie Hancock, Terrance Blanchard), Chris Cheek on saxs (is one of the most sought after saxophonists in the Jazz world today, having played in the the groups of legends such as Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow and Bill Frisell), and Kevin Hays (Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, John Scofield) on piano and keyboards. As a carousel, anyone can climb aboard this band if he so wishes. So the group's roster expands and contracts. An open workshop, creative, constantly evolving. Those who come in should not behave as simply a "guest" but as a full time essential member of the band, bringing all his or her desires, commitment, and knowledge thru the gate into the fairgrounds.
Musically diverse, sometimes very bold and unexpected, Jeff Ballard Fairgrounds does not have a fixed or pre-established repertoire, the music mostly comes as sound ideas brought in by Ballard and his companions, taking on different forms as the ideas germinate and expand in context. A group with an unusual timbre from their combined strength. A new reality which will act as an arena where one can bring ideas and flex the mind. The creativity and commitment of the leader is well documented also by his stylistic choices. The sharp blades of the avant-garde, the obsessions of free jazz, the intrigue of electronics, wide cultural diversity of rhythm, colors, textures of rock, the splendid virtuosity of the individual involved.
All of this is to describe Jeff Ballard Fairgrounds. Just listen to it and you will no longer have any doubt: when the bell sounds announcing the new round of tournament, stay there. Don't miss it.
Line up: Jeff Ballard (drums), Kevin Hays (piano), Lionel Loueke (guitar), Chris Cheek (saxs).