Jon Balke

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Jon Balke
Jon Balke.jpg
Balke at Berchidda on Sardinia, 2006
(Photo by Gianfranco Rota)
Background information
Birth name Jon Georg Balke
Born (1955-06-07) 7 June 1955 (age 61)
Furnes, Norway
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Piano

Jon Georg Balke (born 7 June 1955 at Furnes, Ringsaker, Norway) is a Norwegian jazz pianist and composer currently known for his Magnetic North Orchestra. He is the younger brother of saxophonist Erik Balke.[1][2][3]


He began with classical piano, but switched to blues at 12, though today he performs within several genres. At the age of 18 he joined Arild Andersen's quartet. By the mid-1980s he worked on his own and would become one of Norway's leading jazz composers.[4] He was active in the groups of Radka Toneff and in the Afrofusion group E´olén before joining Oslo 13 and Masqualero in the early 1980s. From 1989 he focused on his own projects, such as JøKleBa (with Audun Kleive and Per Jørgensen) and the still existing Magnetic North Orchestra for which he composed the commissioned work Il Cenoneat to Vossajazz 1992.[5]

Balke formed the percussion group Batagraf in 2002, and created the concept work Siwan with singer Amina Alaoui in 2007. He is also the creator of a series of multimedia concerts at Vossajazz festival, labeled Ekstremjazz. The concerts involve various practitioners of extreme sports, such as parachuting, paragliding, hanggliding, and bmx biking.[1][4] In 2012 he was "Artist in residence" at Moldejazz.[6]


Discography (in selection)[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

As band leader[edit]

Within JøKleBa
Within Magnetic North Orchestra
Within Batagraf
  • 2005: Statements (ECM)
  • 2011: Say And Play (ECM)

Collaborative works[edit]

With Radka Toneff
Within Masqualero
Within Oslo 13
  • 1983: Anti-Therapy (Odin)
  • 1987: Off Balance (Odin)
  • 1992: Nonsentration (ECM)
  • 1994: Oslo 13 live (Curling Legs)
With others

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jon Balke Biography (in Norwegian). Norsk Biografisk Leksikon. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Europe Jazz Orchestra". 
  3. ^ a b Kelman, John (2012-08-15). "Jon Balke: Magnetic Works 1993-2001 - Extended Analysis". Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  4. ^ a b "Jon Balke Biography - Music Information Center Norway -". 
  5. ^ "Jon Balke - alene med et flygel - Jazz". (in Norwegian)
  6. ^ "Jon Balke - Artist in Recidence". Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  7. ^ "Jon Balke – Magnetic Works" (in Norwegian). Jazz 
  8. ^ "Jon Balke - Warp". ECM Records. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  9. ^ "Jon Balke and Magnetic North Orchestra: Diverted travels - Listen to Norway".  (by Tomas Lauvland Pettersen)
  10. ^ "Magnetic Works 1993-2001". ECM Records. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Terje Bjørklund, Knut Kristiansen and Espen Rud
Recipient of the Buddyprisen
Succeeded by
Terje Rypdal
Preceded by
The Brazz Brothers
Recipient of the Jazz Gammleng-prisen
Succeeded by
Finn Sletten