Iain Ballamy | Stian Carstensen

The smallest big band duo in the world

Iain Ballamy – saxophones
Stian Carstensen – accordion

The synergy of the button accordion and tenor saxophone creates a rare, rich and beautiful sonority.

In the hands of these two musicians it becomes a combination capable of a great range of moods and textures, at times showing great dexterity and alternately a full and rich resonance seemingly far larger than the sum of its parts.

Their repertoire ranges widely from Chopin to Whitney Houston via Eric Satie to Kurt Weil, Vaughan Williams, Fats Waller and Burt Bacharach. Performing much loved classic songs, jazz standards, tangos alongside original tunes and children’s songs, The Little Radio brings joy to all listeners with their rich and diverse program and imaginative settings.

Stian Carstensen began as an accordionist aged nine; initially studying with his father during which time he played on Norwegian TV, radio, festivals etc. He also toured America playing classical music.  At the same time he harboured an interest in swing, performing standards with his bassist father.  Aged 15, in a fit of teenage angst, Stian threw away his accordion and began to play electric guitar in a rock band.  Fortunately this brief spell bored him considerably and his interest in jazz re-emerged and he formed a trio. He went on to study jazz at Trondheim conservatory forming his now legendary group 'Farmers Market'. Stian is currently learning pedal steel guitar has reputedly been prosecuted under Norwegian law for the unique traffic offence of playing the violin whilst driving.

Stian's Website >

Hearing them live leaves you in absolute awe. With their sheer virtuosity and sense of joy you feel like a kid about to step onto a twinkling, old-fashioned merry-go-round. Listening to this beautifully recorded CD is almost as good.
— Hans Biørn Lian, BBC Music
Ballamy tears into Honeysuckle Rose like Coleman Hawkins, with accordion pursuing him like a battalion of excited bagpipes. This may be the accordion’s most distinguished moment in jazz to date. I loved the whole thing.
— Martin Gayford, The Telegraph
Little Radio
By Iain Ballamy, Stian Carstensen