The Floating World
On The Floating World, Ballou works with pianist George Colligan, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Darren Beckett. The disc contains some pretty familiar material: three standards, Bill Evans' "Time Remembered" and Monk's "Pannonica." The album's not that conservative, though, as Ballou takes liberties with their structures, as on "All the Things You Are." He opens it and "Memories of You" playing unaccompanied. There are some free-jazz selections here as well and on them the improvisation is amazingly coherent and well-sustained. Ballou plays idea-rich, solidly structured solos. Colligan turns in excellent work. He's got a light touch but articulates crisply and plays graceful single-note lines that have a lot of rhythmic variety. On "Don and Dewey" he turns in fine octave unison work. Weiss and Beckett contribute quiet but very infectious rhythm section playing. Note also Weiss' beautiful arco solo on the title track.