The New Wave of Belgian Jazz

13 > 19.12
Nov 28 2017
AB is proud to present THE NEW WAVE OF BELGIAN JAZZ!: a seven-nighter to conclude the successful JAZZ 100 series. The key figures will be the latest generation of musicians from the contemporary national jazz scene, for whom jazz is a state of mind rather than a genre.

The Belgian contemporary jazz scene in the spotlight

“Belgian jazz is flourishing thanks to a rich and adventurous new wave.”

“Belgian jazz is in a fantastic place. What bands, what choice!”
(De Morgen)



JAZZ 100 – a tribute to the genre, marking the fact that the very first jazz record was made exactly 100 years ago - was attended by no fewer than 10,000 paying visitors. This was due to the impressive line-up: contemporary audience favourites like Gregory Porter, Snarky Puppy, Thundercat and Madeleine Peyroux, via Belgian stars like Stuff. and Jef Neve to the new wave of trendsetters from the London jazz scene: Yussef Kamaal, Sarathy Korwar and Shabaka & The Ancestors.

Time for a respectful look at what we have in Belgium, focusing on young talent on the way up and with international potential. THE NEW WAVE OF BELGIAN JAZZ! – don’t forget the ! - is a title borrowed from the legendary baseline that was always used on the stylish gatefold covers of the groundbreaking Impulse! label that created a furore in the sixties with John Coltrane: The New Wave of Jazz Is On Impulse!

THE NEW WAVE OF BELGIAN JAZZ! reflects the state-of-the-artof the flourishing contemporary Belgian jazz scene.


THE NEW WAVE OF BELGIAN JAZZ! brings together no fewer than 20 promising acts and a plethora of musicians, with TaxiWars and Melanie De Biasio as the main attractions. Melanie De Biasio presents her soon to be released album ‘Lilies’, the follow-up to the striking 25-minute 'single' ‘Blackened Cities’ which underscores Melanie's unique character.

TaxiWars – a swirling collaboration between Tom Barman and saxophonist Robin Verheyen - will round off their successful year following the release of their second acclaimed album ‘Fever’. They will be the star attraction at the mini-festival that will take place on Saturday 16 December. Following in their wake: De Beren Gieren, BRZZVLL, The Mechanics, AAN/EOP and Black Flower, all of them acts that consider jazz as a state of mind rather than a genre. Black Flower draws inspiration from Ethiopian music, De Beren Gieren flirt subtly with electronica, BRZZVLL incorporate funk, soul and Afrobeat into their sound, AAN/EOP is most definitely electronic and The Mechanics take Ornette Coleman’s ‘Dancing In Your Head’ as an explosive benchmark for heading down the road to improv and noiserock. Anyone who wants to feel the pulse of the new wave in Belgian jazz will find what they are looking for here.


During THE NEW WAVE OF BELGIAN JAZZ!, no fewer than three Belgian jazz labels will be given carte blanche: Igloo, W.E.R.F. and Rat Records. These labels have supported the national jazz scene for (many) years, and often look for collaborations going beyond linguistic and national borders. Two of them even have Brussels roots. Igloo Records has been around since 1978(!) and presents a double bill with trumpeter and revelation Jean-Paul Estiévenart, and TaxiWars drummer Antoine Pierre presents his capital project Urbex (read: Urban Exploration) combining Flemish and Walloon jazz. Rat Records – the abbreviation of Rare And Treacherous – is inspired by drummer Teun Verbruggen (Flat Earth Society, ex-Jef Neve Trio) who usually sets up fascinating collaborations. The most surprising guest on the bill this evening is the famous Brussels street artistBONOM. Lynn Cassiers, Jozef Dumoulin, Nathan Wouters and Steven Delannoye are also on the programme.

Bruges-based label W.E.R.F. - which has been around since 1993 - has been pursuing a particularly inspiring and refreshing direction for a few years, and is presenting a real triple bill. Which is: revelation SCHNTZLCompro Oro (who incorporate Latin music into their sound in a slightly psychedelic manner) and Beraadgeslagen, a unique collaborative project by Stuff. drummer Lander Gyselinck and De Beren Gieren pianist Fulco Ottervanger.


If you are wondering why headliner Stuff. is missing from the bill: they performed their brand-new album ‘Old Dreams, New Planets’ earlier this year as part of JAZZ 100. Repetition = boring, so that's not an option. However, various Stuff. members do pop up in various line-ups. For example, Stuff. drummer Lander Gyselinck is the lynchpin of Beraadgeslagen and we see Stuff. saxophonist Andrew Claes and bassist Dries Laheye in  BRZZVLL and AAN/EOP.

Which brings us to Granvat, or according to De Morgen, “the wonderful platform on which jazz, folk and avantgarde form a great-sounding trio”. Perhaps they are the most emblematic of the spirit that THE NEW WAVE OF BELGIAN JAZZ! aims to reflect.  The mainstay of Granvat are brothers Stijn and Bert Cools who live and breathe jazz, but with their band Hoera are at home with post-rock and experimental electronic. They also form the nucleus of
the electronic-project TO/EOP. And last but not least, Bert Cools pops up in Antoine Pierre’s Urbex project.