"On THRITY9THIRTY8 (Flattened Planet no#), McManus is joined by trumpeter Dave Ballou and drummer Devin Gray. The resourceful guitarist reveals yet another facet of his personality on this heavy, cosmically inclined live performance (Eight30Four / Nine40Two / Twenty1Nineteen. 39:38. June 19, 2005, Baltimore, MD). This is much more successful, with McManus giving into his inner feedback junkie and blending well with Ballou in terms of both phrasing and timbral contrast. Gray has a very cool sound on his kit, all tuned quite exactingly, and he plays in spare patterns that recall Blackwell. The opening track is a bit of a teaser, with three solo statements, cycling back through a few times. But once the set gets going, the trio interaction is the thing. McManus' tight little chordal work at the opening of "Nine40Two" suggest a Nels Cline influence, both in his use of seconds and his tone. He also interacts really impressively with Gray, and when Ballou enters there's some lovely counterpoint and clatter. Things get more expressive on the longest, and concluding track, with an extended duo for McManus and Ballou, filled with glissing and winding staccato lines. At times I wish Gray would take a somewhat more active role, since the trio segments are so good. But still, I commend his taste and restraint. A good set."-Jason Bivin, CADENCE MAGAZINE Winter, 2008
"Recorded at a club in Ballou’s Baltimore backyard, Thirty9Thirty8 rests on the premise that the only constraint on these musicians is the time of each cut. Their ideas are largely realized with three engaging improvs titled to reflect their times that, along with McManus’ delightfully varied playing, showcase Ballou’s mastery of his horn. Ballou shines on a number of fronts but most notably tone and inventive lines that include some exquisite minor modal playing on the opening track. Drummer Devin Gray acts as a conduit between Ballou and McManus allowing ample room for the guitarist’s breadth. This is clearly the lighter of the two sessions despite doses of electric guitar sound sheeting to kick things off."- Elliot Simon, All About Jazz New York
"An interesting album : three tracks, called "eight30four", "nine40two", "twenty1nineteen", the sum of which is "Thirty9thirty8", or the exact length of the record. It kicks off with heavy industrial guitar noise by Terrence McManus, out of which emerges a plaintive melodic unaccompanied trumpet solo by Dave Ballou, and then Devin Gray's drums come in, the musicians alternate throughout the piece, only acting as a trio at the very end. The second track is more dissonant, bringing high intervallic improvizations, with short bursts and speedy interaction, acting as a kind of opposite to the first track. The third track is more open, starting with guitar and trumpet reacting, echoing and expanding on each other's inventiveness, creative and beautiful, with Gray joining after exactly one third of the track. McManus does not really solo in the typical sense, he plays chords throughout, on three strings or more, arpeggios or strumming, and rarely on one string. Ballou's trumpet-playing is excellent, as we already knew, inventive, open, complex, without needing to resort to extended techniques to bring something new, and melodic all the way through. Gray's drumming is great and functional. A real trio album, with a fresh and interesting approach."
-http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com December, 2007
Dave Ballou has released eight internationally recognized CD's as a leader for the SteepleChase record label. He has performed or recorded with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Kevin Norton, Maria Schneider, Andrew Hill, Dave Leibman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Kahlil, Don Preston and an extensive list of jazz personalities. Dave has performed Bach's Brandenberg Concerto #2 with the Bella Musica Orchestra of NY, Larry Austin's Improvisations with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Gunther Schuller's Journey into Jazz with the Spokane Symphony and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He also was a featured soloist for the premiere of Schuller's Encounters, a composition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jordon Hall. Dave has composed for each of his SteepleChase releases as well as numerous arrangements and original works for a wide spectrum of genres. His work for solo trumpet, "Samskara" was commissioned by Jon Nelson of the Meridain Arts Ensemble. He earned a BM (magna cum laude) from Berklee College of Music in 1986 and a MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991. Dave is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Music at Towson University.
A visionary guitarist"-Gene Bertoncini Born in Brooklyn, New York, guitarist Terrence McManus grew up in New Jersey and Connecticut. He has performed with guitarist Bill Frisell, trumpeter Herb Robertson's quartet, bassist Kermit Driscoll's trio, drummers Gerry Hemingway and Michael Sarin, bassist Anthony Cox's groups Regional Jazz and the Happy Trio, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the New York Guitar Festival, Ellis Island, The Knitting Factory, CBGBs, the Hartford Jazz Festival, Baltimore's Federal Hill Jazz & Blues Festival, and the inaugural month at John Zorn's The Stone. Also an accomplished solo guitarist, Terrence performs his own compositions and arrangements, and has developed a unique style of improvisation, drawing on extended technique and prepared guitar. Terrence's solo improvisations were featured in the New York City debut of the Fermin Cabal play Disappeared(Tejas Verdes). In 2006 Terrence formed Flattened Planet, a record label dedicated to the promotion of new, creative, and improvised music. The label has four releases including Pastellic Reflections, Bates/Linz/McManus, Live at the Clown Lounge, and thirty9thirty8. In 2008 Terrence will be featured along with many of the world's top guitarists in an exhibition by legendary photographer Ralph Gibson, at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit titled, The State of the Axe, will also be released as a book on Yale University Press.