Music > The Jeff Ball Band


Released on November 11, 2003


Songs Of Winter
by The Jeff Ball Band

Review by William Ruhlmann

Jeff Ball brings his musical hybrid of new age and Native American styles to the holiday season on Songs of Winter. As ever, Ball, playing the American Indian flute (or rather, many different ones, with the craftsmen credited on each track), takes off from the sound typical of the instrument, leading a new age quartet. Here, they tackle such familiar seasonal standards as "Silent Night" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," along with a few originals. Typical of contemporary holiday albums, he has not restricted himself to actual Christmas songs, including the Beatles' "Across the Universe." "It just felt right and seemed to fit with the other seasonal music," he explains in the press materials. He also says that, in playing such tunes, he has had to expand the notes that can be played on the flute, which is not designed for the Western scale. "It took delicate finger work and breath work, playing half-hole and three-quarter-hole notes," he recalls. A purist might ask why, if he wanted to play Western pop music, he didn't just use a conventional flute and be done with it. But for a musician like Ball, crossing genres is the whole point. And he has been successful here in creating an album of music played on the American Indian flute that, for the most part, doesn't sound like it's being played on the American Indian flute, which is an accomplishment of sorts. It also makes for a pleasant record of mostly seasonal music in a new age style.

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