The long-standing Anglo-Norwegian band Food is now the duo of saxophonist Iain Ballamy and percussionist Thomas Strønen. The two team up with Norwegian guitar legend Eivind Aarset and Indian slide guitarist phenomenon Prakash Sontakke for yet another exciting chapter in the story of Food.
Says Fiona Talkington on Food’s Conexions concert with Aarset and Sontakke; “The series wouldn’t be complete without Food, a long-standing Anglo-Norwegian partnership which is now the duo of Iain Ballamy and Thomas Strønen. Together their creativity is boundless and their guests Eivind Aarset and an Indian slide guitarist I can’t wait to hear, Prakash Sontakke, promise beautiful and inspiring music.”
Iain Ballamy, is arguably one of the most creative and versatile forces in British contemporary music. His pedigree as a first-rate player and composer is without question, from his early work with Loose Tubes, Balloon Man and Acme, right through to the more straight-ahead approach of Anorak and more recently the freer, electronic territories of Food. His plaintive tone recalls Stan Getz but his lyrical invention and vocal expressiveness, coupled with his command and range of the instrument, makes him a true one-off and inspiring to hear: one of the UK’s most treasured voices in jazz.
Ballamy established himself playing alongside notables including Hermeto Pascoal, the late Gil Evans, George Coleman, Dewey Redman, Mike Gibbs and the New York Composers Orchestra. Touring extensively world-wide, he has appeared at most international festivals and venues. A long time collaborator with Django Bates, since the days of Loose Tubes and Bill Bruford’s Earthworks he is currently a member of Django’s Human Chain and Delightful Precepice. Parallel to his international jazz career, Ballamy has pursued his interest in world music, playing concerts in India and Europe with the Karnataka College of Percussion. He has performed and forged strong working relationships with renowned musicians from Hungary, Norway, Spain, Sudan, Brazil and beyond... Ballamy’s wide ranging musical interests add depth and creativity to his music which can be clearly heard on the strong Food releases “Veggie”, “Last Supper” and most recently on “Molecular Gastronomy” all on Norwegian label Rune Grammofon.
Now down to the duo of Ballamy and Strønen after trumpeter Arve Henriksen left, Food looks to be more active than ever. “Molecular Gastronomy”, their fifth album, was recorded by Jeremy Cox over a period of two years and mixed by Ashley Slater, who also contributes on three tracks. To a larger degree that its predecessors, “Molecular Gastronomy” is mostly freely improvised, much in the same way as the duo’s live appearances are. Given the new set-up and a fresh approach, it’s seems that Ballamy, without doubt one of the great British sax players of his generation, is left with ample room for his distinct, exploratory and utterly rewarding playing.
Read more on the Conexions concert series here.