Norwegian pianist/composer/bandleader/percussionist Jon Balke was born in 1955 and has an association with ECM dating back to his teens, when he joined Arild Andersens group to record Clouds In My Head. Later he was a co-founder of the Masqualero group, with Andersen and Jon Christensen . He has been featured as leader/composer/arranger/keyboardist of Oslo 13, Magnetic North Orchestra and Siwan, and as solo pianist on Book of Velocities, a sequence of aphoristic pieces that have affinities with Kurtág and Ligeti. A further volume of solo music is in preparation.
 
Balkes involvement with percussion, foregrounded in the group Batagraf, which he cofounded with Helge Andreas Norbakken as a sort of percussion think-tank and forum for ideas, dates back to his ten-year collaboration [...]
Norwegian pianist/composer/bandleader/percussionist Jon Balke was born in 1955 and has an association with ECM dating back to his teens, when he joined Arild Andersens group to record Clouds In My Head. Later he was a co-founder of the Masqualero group, with Andersen and Jon Christensen . He has been featured as leader/composer/arranger/keyboardist of Oslo 13, Magnetic North Orchestra and Siwan, and as solo pianist on Book of Velocities, a sequence of aphoristic pieces that have affinities with Kurtág and Ligeti. A further volume of solo music is in preparation.
 
Balkes involvement with percussion, foregrounded in the group Batagraf, which he cofounded with Helge Andreas Norbakken as a sort of percussion think-tank and forum for ideas, dates back to his ten-year collaboration with West African musicians in the band EOlen, between 1978 and 1988.
 
Siwan (2009), described by the Financial Times as a poignant fusion of classical Andalusian Arabic poetry and music with the European baroque... poetic songs of love, longing and separation, was a project initiated by Balke with Amina Alaoui, Kheir Eddine M'Kachiche and Jon Hassell.
 
The Norwegian trio Jøkleba the name created from the surnames of its members, Per Jørgensen (trumpet, vocals), Audun Kleive (electronics, drums, percussion) and Balke on electronics and piano was formed in 1990, and soon established itself as one of the most unpredictable groups on the Scandinavian scene.  John Fordham wrote of the trios ECM debut, Outland (2014): Balke continues to be a master of the selective keyboard intervention.
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