Currently on tour in Europe – the Jeff Ballad Fairground and so I went to see them at the A-Trane club in Berlin. A band that consists of Ballard on drums, Lionel Loueke on guitar, Kevin Hays on keyboards and Reid Anderson on electronics can’t do much wrong and even on their first night out as a band, they sounded amazing: careful sonic explorations with Ballard’s sensitive percussion driving the music forward, little themes popping up and disappearing, searching what this band could sound like. Loueke sometimes adding just sounds to the soundscapes of Hays and especially Anderson, who on occasion adds beats to drive the exploring further into rhythmic territories … with a smiling Ballard following happily. It seemed the band was working from kind of sketch sheets, developing the music while playing and coming up with new ideas, going around unexpected corners. There were some freer elements, which you would expect by musicians of this calibre improvising, but there were great beautiful melodic parts and a wonderful tune sang by Kevin Hays.
Jeff Ballard’s Fairground are still touring Europe until the end of the month … and I am sure the shows will get even better than the already amazing first gig was. Go for your ride on the Fairground – no regrets guaranteed!!