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Dave Ballou: Volition

Over the years the instrument most identified with jazz has been the trumpet, yet in recent decades few original trumpeters aside from Dave Douglas have gained much attention. There are some fine, if not well-known, ones out there, however, including Herb Robertson, Cuong Vu, Russ Johnson and Dave Ballou. Like Douglas and Cuong Vu, Ballou played in Orange Then Blue in Boston, then moved to the New York area, where he’s currently based.

Ballou’s picked up ideas from a variety of trumpeters, including Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Robertson, but doesn’t sound like anyone else. He has a full, warm, cultivated tone; plays very well in the lower as well as upper register; and employs wide intervals relatively frequently. Although modern, he’s a thoughtful, melodic improviser.

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