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Music: Iain Ballamy and Stian Carstensen - The Little Radio (Sound)

BBC Music April 2004.

10/03/2004 ::  

lAIN BALLAMY and STIAN CARSTENSEN opt for a whimsical menu for their duo album. Duets for tenor saxophone and accordion aren't exactly thick on the ground, even in this polyglot age, and the two players must have felt free to set whatever agenda they pleased. It turns out that tunes as disparate as 'Body and Soul', 'Windmills of Your Mind' and 'Teddy Bears' Picnic' push their boat, and one could be forgiven for expecting a surfeit of kitsch. Instead, the record is charming. Ballamy is very good at combining wistfulness and a more astringent viewpoint, and Carstensen, even if he tends to be stuck as second fiddle, is clever at threading an orchestral counterpoint into their collectivity. This might lack the gravitas of the beautiful sax and accordion dialogues by Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Cosca, but it falls very pleasingly on the ear.

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