By Jan Granlie
Dave Ballou has released nine internationally acclaimed records as a leader and co-leader. He has played with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Maria Schneider, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Don Preston and numerous other jazz personalities. He has done Bach’s Brandenburg concert with Bella Musica Orchestra of New York, Larry Austin’s Improvisations with Boston Modern Orchestra Project; and Günther Schuller “Journey Into Jazz” with Spokane Symphony and Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
After a short study at the University of Rhode Island, he continued at Berklee College of Music. There, he studied with Herb Pomeroy, Greg Hopkins, Jimmy Mosher and Greg Fritze. Other teachers have been George Garzon, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook, Laurie Frink, Charles Schluter, Jeff Stout and Paul Caputo.
In 1994 he moved to New York City. There, he sought a community where he could grow as an artist and to be surrounded by like-minded musicians. Dave ended up in Brooklyn, and took part of the vibrant scene there. In New York, he has played in a number of Broadway shows, been a studio musician, and has made numerous concerts with some of his heroes: Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Tim Berne, Billy Hart, Dewey Redman, Michael Formanek and Dave Liebman.
On his first recording at the Portuguese label Clean Feed, we hear him demonstrate the art of solo trumpeting, playing through 10 compositions; most of them improvised directly in studio, with a couple of pre-written ones.
And it is a rousing good technician we meet on this album. For anyone who loves the trumpet as an instrument, this is a record that should be studied from beginning to end.
Ballou has a typical, classical tone in the different horns he uses, and although the music is experimental, he uses no electronics or overdubbing.
A record for all trumpet students, from one who knows his horn!