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World Music CD Reviews North American

Jeff Ball

By Randall Barnwell
Published January 14, 2008

The Shape of Light
Red Feather Music

The latest album by Maryland’s Jeff Ball is a mixture of percussion and Native American flute. The music is sometimes very American, but often filled with the “otherness” that completes Moroccan Gnawa music or Indonesian Gamelan. With family members in tow and a host of guest musicians, Ball creates soundscapes of contemplation, light and color filled with passionate emotion, a sense of moving-though-space reminiscent of Steve Tibbett’s Safe Journey (a gem in itself), The Shape Of Light moves and shifts through Native American music and world music into soundtracks and soundscapes, all painted with a skillful hand. On the title track, cellist Dawn Avery glides seamlessly though aggressive flute accompaniment and a floating rhythm track. “Tranquility” will take you to Bell’s Mesa, near Sedona—you can imagine a lone musician playing a gentle melody as the sun sets beyond the horizon. Buy this disc if you love music that transports your head to faraway lands.