Cosmopolitan and vibrant, jazz asserts itself in Brussels

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Jazz Station - Or Bareket Quartet @ Jean-Paul Remy

Brussels, jazz capital of Europe? Brussels and jazz have always shared a special bond. From the craze for big bands followed by the emergence of bebop and free jazz up to the current jazz trends, Brussels has invariably welcomed a wide range of styles, spanning the musical jazz spectrum... and still does. Jazz is heard in the city’s many clubs and even in its metro or in the streets on International Jazz Day . In all this diversity, how can we describe the Brussels jazz scene? In order to detect its very particular DNA, Pianist Eve Beuvens, Jazz Station director Kostia Pace and musician and founder of Werkplaats Walter Teun Verbruggen have been invited to speak.

Eve Beuvens (c) Pjilippe Lambert 2013

  • Is there a specifically Brussels jazz scene?

Teun Verbruggen: You could say that there is, and it is starting to develop thanks to people scattered here and there who are constantly making it evolve. In fact, the Brussels jazz scene is like the city itself: very cosmopolitan.

Eve Beuvens: In terms of musicians, it is quite international, with many people coming from Italy and France. That’s due to our central geographical location and our high-quality schools.

Kostia Pace: Brussels is indeed one of the major European centres of jazz, a city full of music that encourages cross-cultural encounters. Many musicians also come here to take advantage of the synergies that the city brings. It’s a city that knows how to combine vintage (with a strong swing tradition and many very famous bands) and modernity - our jazz scene also flirts with electro and urban music.

Teun Verbruggen

  • How would you describe your venue/your jazz practice in three words?

Kostia Pace: For us, and this is also what we are committed to making our audience feel with Jazz station: curiosity, an organic approach and escapism.

Eve Beuvens: If I am talking about my day-to-day, I try to make it inspiring, connected and meaningful. This is the space I give to jazz in my life. If we’re talking about my style or what I communicate through my music, I would say warm, colourful and plurivocal, which is the opposite of univocal. What's special about jazz is that it gives the listener a great deal of freedom, and that is also my aim.

Teun Verbruggen: I would describe Werkplaats Walter in the following words: an alternative place, artistic residences, and links between visual arts and avant-garde music.

Kostia Pace @Roger Vantilt

Jazz events in Brussels

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