The 17th edition of Gent Jazz Festivals starts on 29 June running until 8 July at the Bijloke site in Ghent. The festival organisers have already announced the participation of great musicians this year, such as Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, Sir Tom Jones, Paolo Conte, Pharoah Sanders, all-star band Hudson (with John Scofield and Jack DeJohnette among others), the Roots and Selah Sue. The already impressive list is now finalised.
On July 1st, Wim Mertens and Joep Beving join Belgian pride Melanie De Biasio on the Main Stage while on July 3rd, Boogie Belgique will swing the night away after Tom Jones’s concert and Theo Lawrence & The Hearts gets the heart rates up.
On 1 July the piano takes the lead
On Sunday 1 July, the day on which wonder woman Melanie De Biasio is the rightful headliner, Belgium’s most famous composer Wim Mertens will be raising the festival roof. He became world renowned thanks to his hit “Struggle For Pleasure”. The concerts of this musician, who has released over 65 albums, have you tumble from one poetic wonder into another. He sells out concert halls all over the world, most recently in Mexico City.
Before Mertens, Dutchman Joep Beving brings the entire tent into a state of trance. He who once composed at his kitchen table in the dead of night, is now called the new Nils Frahm or Max Richter. The latter’s label did not hesitate for a second to sign him on. Songs like “Midwayer” and “The Light She Brings” each account for more than 25 million Spotify streams. Tomorrow’s big stars can be heard first at Gent Jazz Festival. That same day, for example, Steiger, winner of Jong Jazztalent Gent 2017, opens the Main Stage.
The entries for the 2018 edition sound promising and on this summery Sunday, Gent Jazz Festival, in collaboration with brewery Duvel-Moortgat, awards a 10,000 euros cheque to the most ambitious jazz project. The Ghent Conservatory also presents three of its current prodigies: Le Manou, Screens and Gilman. Isolde Van den Bulcke plays the final concert that day, introducing her Frank Ocean-inspired project named Tristan.
Big night Tuesday 3 July
Sir Tom Jones has been turning knees to jelly for over five decades. The 22-year-old Franco-Canadian Theo Lawrence has a similar career ahead of him as far as Gent Jazz Festival is concerned. Together with The Hearts, the autodidact possesses so much effortless coolness that he could easily have competed with Elvis Presley in the 1950s. The new soul of rock ‘n’ roll has arrived! A fusion of old and new, a crossover between that vintage dress and those loose, comfortable jeans. Boogie Belgique, the band launched by DJ Oswald Cromheecke, knows how it’s done. This electroswing band mixes the best of artists such as Parov Stellar with the sound of acts like Bonobo and Nightmares On Wax. If you don’t want to stop dancing after Tom Jones, head over to the Garden Stage for an audio-visual treat full of trumpets, piano, guitar, drums and flute.