Writing about jazz and Bob Dylan in the same sentence may seem odd. However, there is nothing odd about Charlie Ballantine’s Life Is Brief: The Music of Bob Dylan. A project, for all intents and purposes, fraught with risks as is the case when tackling such a large presence in American popular music.
Ballantine tackles the risks beautifully. Creating a beautiful album and project that pays homage to one of the most iconic figures in rock and pop music in the last five decades. The beauty is a result of Ballantine focusing in on the music of Bob Dylan. Usually, we have seen Bob Dylan tributes before that are focused on the songs and the lyrics. What makes this notably special is Ballantine focuses on the exquisite musical melodies that are a big part of the Dylan repertoire.
In a trio format, the music of Dylan is reimagined while playfully expanding upon the familiar melodies. This is evident in perhaps one of the most well-known of Dylan tunes, “The Times They Are A-Changin.” Whereby the jazz guitarist artistry of Ballantine shines mightily. The rest of the songs chosen by Ballantine tended to stay away from the mega hits and focus in on melodic tunes with meaning. Tunes reimagined include “The Death of Emmet Till”, “Shelter from the Storm”, and “She Belongs to Me.”
Here is “The Times They Are A-Changin“:
The trio of players heading to town perform magnificently and becomes part of the growing number of innovatively interesting trios coming through Buffalo. Trios have included the Danny Green Trio from San Diego, the Alex Wintz Trio from New York, and the Joe Policastro Trio from Chicago. The Charlie Ballantine Trio hails from Indiana. There is something both fitting and rustic about their roots and the music of Bob Dylan.
The trio will make a special appearance in Buffalo on Saturday, January 26 at Pausa Art House. There is no doubt, it will be memorable. Offering jazz fans and Bob Dylan fans an opportunity to be immersed in the music and melodies of Bob Dylan. Now, an undeniable influence on American pop history.
(Be sure to visit the Pausa Art House website to reserve a table. Pausa Art House is located on 19 Wadsworth