Bram De Looze

A young piano player who effortlessly links baroque to the most complex avant-garde structures and casually also tries his hand at highly-refined improvisation.

25.02, 18.00, Jazzstation:
LABtrio: 10 Years Cd-release "Nature City"

09.03, 20.00, CC Strombeek:
Solo met Piano e Forte


Who is… Bram De Looze?

From an early age, it becomes clear that Bram De Looze (°1991) has a natural gift. After graduating from the local music academy with maximum points, it all gathers momentum. With Lander Gyselinck and Anneleen Boehme, he founds LABtrio. Right away they reel in a flurry of prizes, including the International Jazz Competition in Avignon (France).

Studying in New York for one year, he broadens his horizon. Contacts and bands with national and international musicians follow almost automatically. An example amongst others is the changing combo around Dre Hocevar.

Alongside bassist Jos Machtel and drummer Matthias De Waele he forms a trio which specialises in standards. A first project is issued in 2013 under the title ‘Foster Treasures’.

He also provides his services as a piano player with Antoine Pierre Urbex, a dream team of the Belgian jazz including among others in its ranks Jean-Paul Estiévenart, Toine Thys, Steven Delannoye and Bert Cools.

With Septych, he follows a unique path. Own compositions are played on a – let’s say – rather peculiar blend of instruments: piano, saxophones, bass clarinet, cellos and percussion. The key objective is to assess the flexibility between score and improvisation, while juggling with harmony and rhythm.

Last year, he initiates an ambitious live project around Piano e Forte in close collaboration with piano builder Chris Maene. On stage, he alternately plays on three different pianos: an Anton Walter Replica (1795), an Érard restored original (1836) and a Pleyel Concert Grand Replica (1843).

Best-known is still LABtrio. Founded ten years ago, the trio has grown into one of the hippest bands of the younger generation. After two CDs (‘Fluxus’, ‘The Howls Are Not What They Seem’), the new album is issued this month under the name ‘Nature City’.


What is…

... your favourite spot in Brussels?

No club or café but the Sonian Forest. I sometimes need to be able to “get lost” in nature, walking or cycling. The silence in the woods, when you are surrounded by all these trees, is for me like a comforting hot shower. It is the best way to clear my mind but at the same time, it is also involuntarily a source of inspiration.


… the last CD or album you bought for yourself?

‘Études’ by Paul Motian and Charlie Haden with Geri Allen. Seppe Gebruers brought the album to my attention. The way in which Allen plays so freely and inventively, is nothing short of impressive. But also, and above all, there is the unique interaction between these three born musicians. It has been a long time since I really sat down in order to listen even more carefully. It is extremely rare these days.


… your fondest memory of a recent concert?

I do not have much spare time to go to concerts but I have recently attended a concert at BOZAR by the band 3MA with kora player Ballaké Sissoko surrounded by Rajery on the valiha and Driss El Maloumi on the oud. Fabulous sound but above all three musicians from different cultures who nevertheless formed a harmonious whole. I believe a concert is a success when you feel that the artists put on full performances. Obviously, the rhythm should also be alright and the musicians should deal properly with dynamics and energy. In this case, everything was performed to a tee.


… your favourite quote of the moment?

When I got interested in piano tuning, I started looking for more information on temperaments and on how we came up with our current system whereby an octave is divided into twelve precisely equal semitones. Previously, it was not the case at all. ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ by Bach is not about our equal temperament. Instead it is about the colour differences which occur in the harmonic constellations with which Bach juggles in his compositions. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with equal temperament but when you start listening more carefully, you get a much richer experience. It is like looking at a painting and not being able to see the true vibrant colours because they would have been reduced to dull and faded colours.