There could hardly be a better start for the new year – the 2014 jazz season will be opened by none other than Jeff Ballard, together with outstanding guitarist Lionel Loueke and the great Miguel Zenon on saxophone. Their first ever album collaboration “Time’s Tales” offers a varied repartoire from Thelonious Monk to Iranian folk melodies, with influences from Bartok, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Stevie Wonder and more. At the same time, it reflects the musicians’ different geographic backgrounds – the USA, Benin and Puerto Rico.
This record is a beautiful way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a jazz club that will carry on providing awesome chapters of live jazz history in the near future… Present has deemed to gather Jorge Pardo, Chonchi Heredia, Josemi Carmona, Javier Colina, Jeff Ballard and Abe Rábade together to play and perform two memorable shows last February 1st to 2nd 2012.
Taking a break from his day job with the Rippingtons, saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa treads some different ground on Walk a Mile (Fahrenheit FR9603-2; 52:06). The talented wind player experiments with a variety of textures and moods-from the brassy and warmly inspirational “Givin’ In,” to the loping, urban-toned title track, both of which showcase some soulful, economical work in lean settings. Kashiwa pairs up well with keyboardist Dave Kochanski (who shares writing credits on the album), as well as with gypsy guitarist Marc Antoine, whose pretty, driving acoustic work support the swirling Brazil feel of “August Moon” and the knuckling Latin rhythms on “Rise.”