Ballamy | Williams | Watts | France

Poststraightahead jazz quartet

Photo: Mark Karasick

Photo: Mark Karasick

Iain Ballamy – tenor saxophone
Gareth Williams – piano
Steve Watts – double bass
Martin France – drums

A stunning “left of centre” quartet, Anorak features four British legends playing Ballamy’s original material once described as ‘doffing the hat towards the tradition whilst moving it forward at the same time”. The music retains strong points of reference to the C20th Jazz legacy but is an entirely contemporary reflection.

The material spans burning swing, soulful ballads, and quirky re-writes of classics including Blue in Green, Stella, I Got Rhythm and All the Things You Are.

Williams’s muscular piano compliments Ballamy’s lyrical approach for which he is now well known

Anorak's first album 'More Jazz' was released in 2007 on Basho Records.


Iain Ballamy

Saxophonist and composer Ballamy is recognised internationally as an original, uncompromising and forward-thinking musician. His work is eclectic, contemporary and un-encumbered by formality and tradition as is clearly evident in his recent writing commissions for Arve Henriksen and the London Sinfonietta, Henri Oguike Dance Company and the soundtrack for ‘Mirrormask’ the highly acclaimed movie directed by Dave McKean for the Jim Henson Company. For two decades Ballamy has forged strong and ongoing musical relationships with musicians around the globe, notably Scandinavia. Iain records for ECM with Food and Quercus. 

Full biog >


Gareth Williams

Described as “a jewel of a player…spinning out luminous introductions and codas” by Jazziz Magazine (USA), he has dazzled audiences not only by his virtuosic approach to the piano, but also by his talents on guitar and as a singer. He describes his musical references as Bill Evans, Welsh Tenor David Lloyd, Big Bill Broonzy, Mahler, Coltrane and Thin Lizzy. Playing credits include Us3, Claire Martin for whom he acted as MD and performances worldwide with Jim Mullen, Bud Shank, James Moody, George Coleman. He also composes and leads his own trio with Laurence Cottle and Ian Thomas.

Gareth's website > 


Steve Watts

Whilst studying classical Double bass at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Steve discovered jazz and left immediately. Since then he’s worked with Mark Copland, Julian Arguelles, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Gordon Beck, Phil Woods, Bobby Wellins, Kirk Lightsey and many others. Steve is currently Professor of Bass at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall school of Music and Drama, Trinity College of Music and Middlesex University.


Martin France

Martin began performing at the age of twelve backing singers in Working Men's clubs with Organ trios in and around Manchester and began his recording career in 1983 performing on several records for ECM. Martin has performed and recorded with Loose Tubes, David Gilmour, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Django Bates, Lee Konitz, Dave Holland, Mark Johnson, Steve Swallow, The Yellowjackets, Nils-Petter Molvaer, Bugge Wesseltoft, Mike Gibbs, Maria Schneider, Sidsel Endresen and Maria Joao.

Martin's website >


Anorak Releases

Anorak Discography

Anorak by Anorak on Basho Records 2003