DANGEROUS KITCHEN emerged in 1991, initially as a percussion duo of Simon Allen and Martin Pyne. At the time they were both working with a variety of London based contemporary classical music ensembles, playing music by composers such as Ian Gardiner, John White, Gavin Bryars, Ian Willcock, Cornelius Cardew and Michael Parsons, among others.
To begin with, the duo played composed music by themselves and others, but a mutual interest in free improvisation quickly established that as their raison d'etre. This approach enabled them to develop a style drawing on and combining their broad range of musical influences and interests, as well as utilising their extensive and highly personalised instrument collections. Those influences included the sound worlds of composers such as Cage, Feldman, Wolff and Messiaen, as well as music from Africa, the middle and far East, jazz and the British improv scene, typified by the likes of Evan Parker and AMM.
Early performances included collaborations with choreographer Mark Baldwin at Lilian Bayliss Theatre, The Place, and Turtle Key Arts Centre in London. It was at this last venue that Stan Sulzmann first performed with Allen and Pyne. Though theoretically a guest appearance, it was so pleasing for all three players that by mutual consent, Dangerous Kitchen became a trio.
Since then, as well as numerous performances, the band has recorded and produced an album, and appeared several times on BBC Radio 3. A variety of musical collaborations have included work with violinist Anne Wood, pianist Tony Hymas, saxophonist Iain Ballamy, multi insrumentalist Clive Bell, and composer Ian Gardiner, whose work Blue Time was premiered by the band plus strings at the ICA in London and featured on national radio. Recently their music played a prominent role in the successful television series, The Private Life of a Masterpiece.
The members of Dangerous Kitchen are all enthusiastic educators, and their workshops for young people in the Suffolk area was the focus of a week long series on Radio 3's The Music Machine. Dangerous Kitchen has also collaborated with artist Maria Hayes, both in live performances and in gallery installations. In performance she has funtioned almost as an additional band member, her painting drawing on the music and in turn influencing its development.