barabara sounds sez:
David Murray laid down not four but five [see comments] albums with the same band in the same series of sessions in New York in January 1988 for the Disk Union (DIW) label. This was the second of them — the others were Deep River, Spirituals, Ballads and Tenors — and probably the most overlooked.
AMG likes Spirituals best — maybe because it's the least 'out there'. It also rates Ballards but doesn't even bother to write up Lovers. There's very little else out there on the web about these albums either, but the review of Ballards pretty much sums this one up too. As the man sez, these were some of his best albums of the decade. Excellent sound quality too.
amg (Stephen Cook) sez:
Ballards is oneof David Murray's finest records. Like the three [sic] other excellent DIW releases that came from the same productive New York Sessions of January 1988 (Spirituals, Deep River, and Lovers), it contains a mix of originals by Murray, pianist Dave Burrell and drummer Ralph Peterson Jr., and it also includes fine bass work by Fred Hopkins. The rapport these players have on this record is stunning. They effortlessly move through a program of cool yet smart after-hours explorations that, in spite of the multi-layered arrangements, come out sounding almost artless... Murray displays his usual inventiveness of phrasing and tone... but thankfully suppresses his penchant for gratuitous outbursts, keeping his solos flowing. This sort of studied, yet loose playing is heard from all the quartet members, including Peterson, who, like Murray, also has the tendency to eat up the scenery...