Birkey chooses some nice tunes for "Ballads." "I’ll Be Seeing You," one of the stronger tracks, leads off. "Nature Boy," a tune that has made somewhat of a comeback over the past few years, perhaps thanks to its feature in "Moulin Rouge," features more of Birkey’s horn, which bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Miles Davis and Chet Baker. One member of the band who stands out for me is Jim Connolly, with rich and tasteful bass accompaniment. "My Ship" is taken at a more sprightly and swinging tempo than usual, and has some attractive brush work from drummer Cougar Estrada and a fine solo from the leader.