Great start to 2016 - Iain joins NYOS Jazz Orchestra at Castlesound Studios with artistic directors Malcolm Edmonstone, Andrew Bain and Castle Sound Engineer Stuart Hamilton to perfect and record new material for an album with a view to releasing it later this year.
Still smiling! The Little Radio has completed the final leg of its community tour of the southwest and Shropshire.
- Stian's favourite English relish is Banston Pickle
- ‘The Little Radio' play Teddy Bears' Picnic every gig, without exception
- Iain is a keen metal detectorist and sometimes uses his Fisher 1265X to play Jobim’s ‘One Note Samba’
- Stian comes from 3 generations of accordionists but also plays banjo, violins, guitars including pedal steel and the Bulgarian Kaval
- Iain & Stian have worked with primary schools and care homes in Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and Shropshire this autumn and performed the following concerts:
Matthew Sweeney poetry | Dave McKean film/visuals | Iain Ballamy music - 22nd October, Whitworth Gallery
The Pepper Street Orchestra - Iain Ballamy saxophones / Emilia Mårtensson voice / Kit Downes piano / Stian Carstensen accordion, banjo, pedal steel / Matthew Sharpe cello
Commissioned to celebrate the 20th Manchester Jazz Festival and the 10th Manchester Literature Festival, the festivals have joined forces to commission a unique, multi-media performance. Combining words, music and visual art/film to mesmerising effect, created by three established and critically acclaimed artists: musician Iain Ballamy, poet Matthew Sweeney and artist and film maker Dave McKean
Irish poet and storyteller, Sweeney’s poems for this piece are inspired by time spent in Manchester absorbing and reflecting on its people and places. McKean is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist and filmmaker. Past collaborators have included Richard Dawkins, Alice Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Tori Amos and Michael Nyman.
Words and music are brought to life by an exceptional international group of musicians, including the dazzling Norwegian virtuoso Stian Carstensen, the pure-toned Swedish vocalist Emilia Mårtensson and the British Mercury contender and keyboard maestro Kit Downes playing against a stunning visual backdrop created by McKean.
Supported by The Foyle Foundation, The Granada Foundation and Arts Council England. Presented in association with Manchester Jazz Festival, Manchester Literature Festival and RNCM.
Manchester Jazz Festival - 6th August, Royal Northern College of Music
Manchester Literature Festival - 22nd October, Whitworth Gallery
Iain will be the soloist for Richard Rodney Bennett's 'Concerto for Stan Getz' with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart, on Sunday 22nd March at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Bennett's 1990 Concerto was never performed by Stan Getz who sadly died shortly after it was completed.
Read Sebastian Scotney's interview with Iain, in London Jazz News, about the piece and when, as a lad, he met Stan Getz at Ronnie Scott's.
The first reunion gig of Loose Tubes 24 years after their last gig together was The talking point of the Cheltenham 2014 weekend followed by a sellout week at Ronnie Scott's Club.
BBC Radio 3 commissioned new pieces from the band's composers Chris Batchelor, Steve Berry, Eddie Parker and Django Bates. These new commissions were recorded at Ronnie Scott's alongside a selection of old favourites. If you missed the broadcast for Jazz on 3 along with an interview by Jez Nelson you can listen again here.
Catch Loose Tubes on 8th August for a final get together at Brecon Jazz Festival.
Loose tubes....sprayed sparks straight through to a standing ovation.
...a triumph, with the multi-coloured maverick monstrosity back in force.
...as strong, and as challenging, as ever... It was a tremendous gig.
Iain celebrated his 50th birthday at Kings Place, London, with his acclaimed quartet 'Anorak' and the premiere performance of his new supersized septet 'Anorak XL'. Presented by Julian Joseph the event was recorded for BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line-Up and broadcast on 17th May listen here.
The repertoire included Iain's latest original works and some recent arrangements of his past classics. Kings Place advised:
"Expect to hear imaginative re-workings of classic jazz standards, occasional folk and classical themes plus original compositions with a strongly English pastoral feel."
'Anorak XL' features three of the very brightest graduates of the Royal Academy of Music where Iain acts as a tutor and mentor - Nathanial Facey alto saxophone, Freddie Gavita trumpet and Kieran Mcleod trombone. For more info on Anorak click here.
Quercus, the unique trio featuring the award winning folk singer June Tabor, pianist Huw Warren and Iain Ballamy released their debut recording on ECM records last year. Visit the Quercus ECM Player for more information and to listen to track sample.
Quercus finished the spring mini tour in Germany and England - go to Live Dates for more info on next gigs.
Food with Fennesz was on the road at the end of last year playing Berlin Jazz Festival, Rotterdam Rewire Festival. Iain and Thomas finished the year touring Japan with Koichi Makigami and finished the year at the Sontakke Festival in Bangalore, India. More info here >
Food's seventh album 'Mercurial Balm' was released in 2012 on ECM Records.
The album features the core group of Iain Ballamy and Thomas Strønen with guitarists Christian Fennesz and Eivind Aarset, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer and the unique singer and slide guitarist from South India, Prakash Sontakke.
Visit the Mercurial Balm ECM Player to hear track 1 'Nebular' and for more info about the artists (ECM 2269).
Listed between Chet Baker and Count Basie!
Compiled by Geoffrey Smith presenter of BBC 2 program 'Jazz record requests', Iain is described as an 'ingenious innovator'.
Iain is one of the few living and non-American musicians included in this prestigious publication. The listing confirms his standing in the true tradition.
Read more about who is in the 100 Jazz Legends area on the BBC's website