Jazz Guitarist Charlie Ballantine Returns With Impressive Original Repertoire

Jazz guitarist Charlie Ballantine and his trio returned to Buffalo for the third consecutive year. His previous visits included a marvelous performance at the Northwest Jazz Festival in Lewiston, NY, and a spectacular concert in a fitting ode to Thelonious Monk. Ballantine this time graced the stage of Seneca One Auditorium to reach into an impressive set list that showcased his evolving music.

With a majority of visiting jazz artists coming from the jazz mecca of New York City, it is refreshing to get a visit from the heartland of Indiana. Ballantine’s music evokes the heartland style with a stamp uniquely his own. His concerts are experiential in the sense that he takes full advantage of the acoustics a room offers. With the use of foot boxes, amp, and technique, Ballantine fills a room with resonating notes and chords that can be invigorating and at times simply beautiful.

The repertoire consisted of mostly songs from Ballantine’s latest acclaimed album, Falling Grace. Which featured a fantastic rendition of the tune, Sweet Tooth. The set did include a reach back to his first album, Providence. And a performance of Wes Montgomery’s Con Alma creatively arranged in the distinctive Ballantine sound and style that honored the 100th Centennial of the Indiana native.

The audience was treated to a new song entitled, Love Letters. The song is beautifully filled with contours, tempo, and arrangement implied by the song title. Highlighting Ballantine’s continued evolution in originality and distinctive compositions.

Quinn Sternberg on upright bass and Richard “Sleepy” Floyd on drums were impressive in their own right. Adding to the chemistry of Ballantine’s music with creative and improvisational acuity. Rounding out a trio that produced amazing rhythms and texture.

With each return visit, Ballantine impresses as his repertoire grows and his performances astonish. We are excited to see where his path will take him. And, when that path will bring him back for another not-to-miss concert.

Our JazzBuffalo contributor and photographer, Jack Zuff, was on hand to create another magnificent gallery. Enjoy!

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