The Jeff Ballard Trio

Jeff Ballard Trio

Programmer Petr Cancura on This Dynamo Group


See them June 28 at the NAC Studio! Details here

Ok, when I think of these three guys here is what I think:

Lionel Loueke blew my mind when I first discovered him. I used to tour with the Mighty Popo, with whom I learned all about African musicians like Oliver Mtukutzi and Youssou N’Dour. I fell in love with the rhythms and the feel. 

Then out of the blue came Lionel Loueke who took all that and brought in all the magic of improvised jazz. A few years ago, we had Herbie Hancock here at the festival, and the band being full of virtuosos, Herbie let them all take a feature. Lionel sang through a harmonizer pedal while making the guitar sound like drums. I could not believe what I was hearing! Another cool fact is that one of Lionel’s teachers from when he was young lives right here in Ottawa.

We presented Miguel Zenon with the San Francisco Collective a couple of years ago along side Avishai Cohen, Mark Turner and Robin Eubanks and others. The group focused on the music of Stevie Wonder and I have to say that Miguel’s rendition of Superstition was breathtaking! Miguel was the recipient of the MacArthur Award, also dubbed “The Genius Award.” 

Jeff Ballard is a member of one of the greatest piano trios, The Brad Mehldau Trio along with Larry Granadier (playing with Newport Jazz: Now 60). That trio is incredible of course, but my favourite show I’ve seen with Jeff Ballard was when he played trio with Chris Porter at the Regatta Bar in Boston. The trio was so on fire! Jeff has that beautiful touch on the drums that makes you just focus in on that.

Often times, a prominent leader will have his band, thereby giving younger musicians a chance to rise to the top. Other times an “all-star” group will be formed for a show, the idea being more novel then sincere. But it is pretty rare to have a group of this calibre that is an actual working group.

I would try get there early and sit right up front, this will be fantastic!