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Jon Balke

Norwegian pianist Jon Balke is an avant-garde-leaning musician with a bent toward mixing various stylistic influences, including contemporary jazz, post-bop, rock, folk, world, and classical. He released his debut album, On and On, in 1991. A year later he made his ECM debut with Nonsentration. A member of the Magnetic North Orchestra, Balke has also released several albums with the ensemble, including Kaynos in 2002 and Diverted Travels in 2004. In 2009, Balke paired up with a similarly inclined group of musicians -- including trumpeter Jon Hassell, violinist Kheir Eddine M'Kachiche, vocalist Amina Alaoui, for 2009's Siwan. A year later he held the piano chair on Lars Möller's 2010's date Trialogue on Imogena (the gorup also included Morten Lund).

Balke assembled his own group Batagraf for 2013's Say And Play. The ensemble was fronted by a vocalist, included piano, electronics, and ten percussionists. After touring with this group, Balke took time to reassess.

When he did emerge, it was with 2016's Warp, a series of compositions for solo piano, vocalists, subtle electronic soundscapes, and field recordings. ~ Matt Collar
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