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US drummer Jeff Ballard’s multinational trio of Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke and Puerto Rican alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon’s album takes eclecticism to a new level.

The opener is an African-inflected romp, “Western Wren” is angular, spacious and free and the covers include raw-energy rock –“The Hanging Tree” by Queens of the Stone Age – a Rodriguez bolero and a Bartok snippet transformed into a lovely ballad. But each musician has a strong character, they blend well and each track is stamped by the trio’s collective personality.

Jeff Ballard

Time’s Tales

(OKeh)

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