March 19 to 29, the eighth edition of 'Leuven Jazz' offers over 50 activities and puts jazzwomen in the spotlights.
This year's programme features international stars, lots of young new talent, as well as interesting jazz documentaries and family productions.
8 tips to enjoy edition 8
1. Female power
Leuven Jazz will put the spotlight on jazzwomen. Singers, drummers, trumpeters, bass players... In 'She's On The Jazz - Isolde & Friends', Belgian drummer Isolde Lasoen gets a blank check to 'browse' the history of jazz. For this exclusive creation, she gathers an all-star band and soloists such as Gregory Frateur (Dez Mona), Naomi Sijmons (Reena Riot) and Bert Ostyn (Absynthe Minded), but also two young talents: singer Elisabeth Atieno and kora player Lubiana.
Award-winning trumpeter Laura Jurd will present her new, eclectic album 'Stepping Back, Jumping In' with a 14-piece live band, and singer-pianist Kandace Springs will also launch her new cd, in an all-female power trio.
Pianist An Pierlé launches her new Quartet, with Koen Gisen and the 'youngsters' of SCHNTZL, and South-African singer Zoe Modiga will pay tribute to Miriam Makeba in collaboration with the LUCA Bigband.
From the New-York jazz scene comes singer-guitarist Camila Meza (in duo with bass player Or Bareket). Also present this year: singers Sofia Jernberg and Ibernice MacBean and clarinettist Hélène Duret (with her group Synestet).
2. International stars
As always, the festival presents some of the greatest international jazz stars. This year, Femi Kuti - son of the world-famous Fela - will bring an evening full of afrobeat, jazz, calypso and the enchanting horns of his band The Positive Force.
The festival will end on a high with an exclusive American double bill: top pianist Jason Moran will perform solo and singer-pianist Kandace Springs brings her new trio (and her brand-new album 'The Women who raised me' which will be released on Blue Note this February).
3. Young and gifted
Since its beginnings, Leuven Jazz loves to offer a platform to young jazz talents. This year, pianist Bram De Looze and the SCHNTZL duo will launch their new albums, just alike pianist Elliot Galvin.
The B-Jazz International Contest remains one of the most important European jazz competitions for young musicians. Six bands - from Australia, Italy, Poland, Holland and Switzerland - will battle it out in two finals.
The future jazz trio PAARD. and the youngsters of John Ghost will play free concerts at STUK Café and the students of the LUCA jazz department invite you to some fine lunch and after-work concerts.
Finally, bass player and rising star Cyrille Obermüller will perform in his home town in the company of trumpeter Sam Versweyveld and pianist Eve Beuvens.
4. Piano Day(s)
Pianists will not only be in the centre of attention on Piano Day (March 28) but throughout the entire festival.
American pianist Jason Moran is one of the biggest names in contemporary jazz. He masters all techniques, has an expressive style and unlimited energy and brings a unique and extremely varied repertoire.
Young Londoner Elliot Galvin is a rising star in the rich British jazz scene, as well as his compatriot Alexander Hawkins, who will perform in a free jazz duo with singer Sofia Jernberg.
Belgium will be represented by leading ladies Eve Beuvens and An Pierlé and by super talent Bram De Looze. The latter will present his new solo album 'Colour Talk', on an exclusive historical Steinway.
5. Intimate jazz
Leuven Jazz is also the perfect occasion to enjoy some intimate jazz sessions. With 'Jazz up your Kot', the festival organises - for the very first time - a series of concerts in student houses (called 'kot' in Flemish).
The full line-up will be available by mid-February but Mattias de Craene, Karen Willems and Hanne De Backer have already been confirmed. This evening will end in the 30CC/Schouwburg with a concert by New-York-based trio The Inbetweens with bass player Noah Jarrett (son of Keith).
On Sunday, March 29th, you can also enjoy three living room concerts with Zoe Gilby & Andy Champion, Bram Weijters & Chad McCullough and the trio of Italian bass player Giuseppe Millaci.
6. A family affair
'Leuven Jazz' invites all ages. The family programme is suited for children and their (grand) parents.
In the brand-new creation 'Cirque Composé meets Leuven Jazz' (10+), accordionist Tuur Florizoone gathers his Friends to perform a live soundtrack to a stunning circus show with the best talents of several Superior Schools of Circus Arts.
In the feelgood movie 'Felix' (9+), 14-year-old Felix dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, much to his mother's displeasure. Swinging with Cape Jazz, this is a world full of colourful characters.
7. Priceless and inexpensive
Most concerts cost less than € 15 and almost half of the programme is even completely free. Savour the free concerts by the LUCA theme ensembles, the Jazz on Sunday at STUK, the B-Jazz Late Night Jams, the living room concerts or the new 'Jazz up your Kot'. Or enjoy the street concerts by drum band DROM, brass band Rabatz and trumpeter Bart Maris.
8. More than concerts
Looking for something else besides these fine concerts? DOCVILLE will seduce the visitors with three jazz documentaries, including the brand-new 'Bring It to the People' on the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and 'Chasing Trane' on John Coltrane.
But you might also discover some beautiful gems in the Jazz Vinyl Market or enjoy an exclusive guided tour in the M museum, following the concert by Ka:mos.
For the full programme and tickets, visit: www.leuvenjazz.be
The Brussels Times