Eugene Ball 1.jpg (2.6 MB, 300 dpi)


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critical commentary

'Ball, by contrast, is all quicksilver darts and flashes, with the ability to flick a switch up to an operatic strata of drama and anguish.'
John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald 2012

'Ball's dazzling playing flitted between the mercurial and the wrenching…' John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald 2012

'Ball's trumpet work is a standout…' John McBeath,

' is trumpeter Eugene Ball who shines in new ways. Ball supplements his mellow, cornet-like tone and flexibility and lovely cup mute playing with plaintive, half-valve choked tones ... a kind of stutter tonguing and timbral distortion, ... and rapid, unaccompanied free-form melismatic passages.' Michael Webb,, 2007

'... Ball's trumpet floated and sang out over a sequence of rhythmic patterns, drawing the audience into a chamber music aura full of subtle tensions and gliding releases. Ball has a lovely clear singing sound... Ball played with a light, fluent momentum, propelled by little syncopated "catches'' recalling the feeling of early Miles or Chet Baker; but it was contemporary in style, lifted by high flares, long arcs and arabesques.' John Clare,, 2006

'...but it is Eugene Ball's 'Ess Muss Sein' that truly dominates the outfit's performance. A dark and evolutionary piece comprised of rumbling toms, strange piano chords, pulsing bass lines and cinematic brass, Ball's work is a masterpiece of musical tension – escalating and neutralising the anxious drama of the piece without ever compromising its understated intensity.'
Matt O'Neill,, May 2005

'Ball is actually the key voice here, kind of a chastened lyricist who brings out the nuance in the pieces...'
Jason Bivins, Cadence (U.S.A), March 2002

'Ball strikes sparks at every appearance, his rich urgent sound occasionally carrying flashes of the brilliance of the great Booker Little or the wicked humor of Lester Bowie.' John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 - 24 Feb 2002

'Always inventive, often original, compelling to hear, he has now added technical mastery and perhaps a more intense drive.'
John Clare, Jazzchord, Dec 01/Jan 02

'Like the late Lester Bowie, he is as likely to use the trumpet in colouristic ways as he is to play continuous lines. Like Bowie, he sometimes sounds more like a flugelhornist and like Bowie, he uses percussive strings of tongued semi-quavers so common in modern jazz trumpet playing, mostly for the surprise drama of the sudden flurry.' John Clare, MCA Music Forum 8/1, October - November 2001

'Ball's trumpet melds with the other instruments rather than rising above them, usually in subtle, legato phrases that leave as much space as they fill.' Jessica Nicholas, The Age, Tuesday August 29, 2000