Released on September 12, 2023
LANZ + Kris Allen = Ballard
Ballard is the name of their new collaborative LP. It might be the origin story of a new band?
Kris Allen and Ben LANZ have been playing together nearly since birth. Really. They grew up as neighbors in Hartford, Connecticut. The project name Ballard is a tribute to their third musketeer, Josh Wittenberg, who died in 2007. Josh grew up across the street from Ben on Ballard Drive.
“Like us, Josh was a bit of a tortured instrumentalist,” says Ben. “This record is a tribute to his unyielding, matter of fact questioning of everything we did—from how we played each note to our larger musical ambitions. His energy pushes us on and challenges us to this day. There are many stories to tell.”
Josh passed away just as Kris and Ben’s adult lives were getting going—Kris on a more academic and jazz path, LANZ doing triple duty as a member of The National, Beirut, and Sufjan Stevens’ band after studying electro-acoustic composition.
Where so many band narratives begin in high school#, that’s where Kris and Ben’s paths diverge. LANZ aka Benjamin Lanz will be familiar to followers of the Brassland label for releasing multiple recordings (and one cycling cap) with us, as well as his membership in The National since 2007, and his work on recordings by This Is The Kit, Ed Sheeran, Beirut, and Taylor Swift. (Admittedly a confusing list.) Primarily a saxophone player, Kris is a protege of DownBeat hall of fame saxophonist Jackie McLean. Kris has released six albums as a leader or co-leader and over a dozen as a sideman, and serves as an artist-in-residence at Williams College.
That’s enough history and biography for you. Ballard came together in 2021.
The entire recording process ran through a modular synth system that colored everything—composition, sound, even the final mix. In live performance, where drummer Robin Baytas will join them, the work of all three instrumentalists will feed into a central “brain” mixer adding modular sync and live sampling
Wednesday 13th: Hartford, CT — Real Art Ways
Friday 15th: Cincinnati, OH — The National’s Homecoming Festival (w/ Bartees Strange & Carriers)
Sunday 17th: New York City, NY — Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)