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Jon Balke

Jon Balke (1955) was born in Furnes, Norway, and has been a professional musician since 1974. Balke has no formal education in music or composition and has mainly worked within the realm of improvised music. His main instrument has been the piano and this has lead, in time, to the use of electronic keyboards. He began composing for larger ensembles in 1982, first and foremost for Oslo 13, a 'small' big band, and has since composed works for the theatre and various chamber ensembles, in addition to big bands and jazz ensembles. Balke's activities in music have always been two-fold. On the one hand, there is a search for maximum spontaneity through the establishing of orchestras which are increasingly based on pure improvisation; a development that has culminated in his very successful trio with Audun Kleive and Per Jørgensen (keys, percussion, and trumpet)

Recollections of an Oslo experience

Read "Recollections of an Oslo experience" reviewed by Henning Bolte

Oslo has its week-long Jazz Festival taking place in mid-August at Sentralen and various locations from bar to church to opera house and university auditorium in the Norwegian capital. This already indicates something of the variety of the presented music. This year's edition has been the last one under the thirteen-year aegis of bassist and festival ...

ARTICLE: IN PICTURES
ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Skydive Trio: Sun Sparkle

Read "Sun Sparkle" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Norwegian guitarist Thomas Dahl's primary project is the Skydive Trio with bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Olavi Louhivuouri. The trio is an off-shoot of a quintet of the same name that includes tenor saxophonist Tore Brunborg and pianist Alexi Tuomarila. Sun Sparkle is the second release from the smaller group whose sound, like the album title, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mathias Eick: Ravensburg

Read "Ravensburg" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Dopo il viaggio in una memoria immaginaria del precedente Midwest, ritratto di un Canada che gli ricordava la natia Norvegia, Mathias Eick passa a una memoria vissuta, legata all'infanzia e ai legami affettivi, raccolta in un lavoro che doveva chiamarsi Family come la traccia che lo apre e che poi ha preso il nome dalla città ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Il Meglio del 2017 Secondo Luca Vitali

Read "Il Meglio del 2017 Secondo Luca Vitali" reviewed by Luca Vitali

Un'annata buona, caratterizzata da alcuni graditi ritorni fuori dai canonici confini del jazz: Arto Lindsay, a tredici anni dal precedente «Salt», Jon Balke, con il secondo capitolo dedicato alla musica arabo andalusa di «Siwan», e in ultimo (ma non per importanza) John Lurie, che dopo diciassette anni di oblio forzato è tornato a farci visita nei ...

Nahnou Houm

Label: ECM Records
Released: 2017
Track listing: Duda; Desmayar Se; Castigo; Del Rey; Ma Kontou; Nahnou Houm; ZemZemeh; Aun Bebiendo; Arco y Flecha; Sin Nada Querer; Itimad.

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

John Kelman's Best Releases of 2017

Read "John Kelman's Best Releases of 2017" reviewed by John Kelman

For those who may have noticed, there have been no best of lists coming from yours truly since 2014; sadly, the chronic health problem that has reduced my previous writing pace to a crawl continues without much respite. My best of the year lists have always been predicated upon having reviewed the releases chosen, and with ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Balke - Siwan: Nahnou Houm

Read "Nahnou Houm" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

When Norwegian keyboardist/composer Jon Balke began the Siwan project in 2007 it grew out of a fascination with Andalusian culture, and an imaginary musical history. What would have happened in European and world musical development if the Inquisition had never happened? Siwan (ECM, 2009) brought together Gharnati music (represented by vocalist Amina Alaoui and violinist Kheir ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Javier Girotto, Jon Balke, Furio Di Castri, Patrice Héral: Unshot Movies

Read "Unshot Movies" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Unshot Movies è opera di un quartetto multinazionale di grandi individualità che, oltre agli spazi strumentali, si dividono equamente oneri e onori compositivi (tre brani firmati a testa) e che, mettendo a frutto le loro diversità, realizzano un lavoro sorprendente a dispetto del suo impianto piuttosto tradizionale. Il disco, come si intuisce dal titolo, ...


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