Photo of Iain Ballamy

Born in Guildford, Surrey and now living in Somerset, saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy has been prolific on the music scene since the 1980s. His dad was a semi-professional jazz pianist and as a young teenager, Iain was ‘conned’ into recording one of his dad’s band rehearsals (he thought he was going to the pub for a shandy!). In the space of those four hours, his mind was made up, and on the way home he told his dad he was going to play saxophone.

A long-time collaborator with Django Bates, Ballamy joined the phenomenal big band Loose Tubes, who recorded three albums in the 1980s and performed a special 30th Anniversary gig at Ronnie Scott’s in London in 2014. He and Bates also teamed up with former Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford as Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, releasing 5 albums between 1987 and 1997. His own projects, including Quercus (with Huw Warren and June Tabor), and an Anglo-Norwegian electronica collaboration FOOD with drummer Thomas Strønen, have produced 18 albums. He also worked with Gil Evans on the soundtrack to the 1986 film Absolute Beginners.

Since then he has become a visiting professor at The Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and a contemporary classical soloist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic orchestra.

Ballamy will be playing four dates in the West Midlands with his latest project ‘IBQT’ in a tour organised by Jazz Midlands and subsidised by Arts Council England. The line-up features rising star, Rebecca Nash on piano (Ballamy likens her playful style to ‘a cat playing with wool’), Nick Pini on bass and world-renowned drummer Jeremy Stacey. The show will include some unexpected re-workings of classic songs that have inspired Ballamy’s musical journey.

A video interview with Ballamy, conducted the week before the tour by Worcester promoter Dave Fuller of Music Spoken Here, is available on YouTube, and shown below.

Piece Talks with Iain Ballamy

You can catch Iain Ballamy’s IBQT on the following dates:

Wednesday 3rd April
Jazz at The Table, 33 Lower Hall Lane, Walsall WS1 1RR

Thursday 4th April
Music Spoken Here at The Marr’s Bar, 12 Peirpoint Street, Worcester WR1 1TA

Friday 5th April
Birmingham Jazz at 1000 Trades, 16 Frederick St, Birmingham B1 3HE

Monday 8th April
Kenilworth Jazz at Kenilworth Rugby Club, Glasshouse Lane, Kenilworth CV8 2AJ

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