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Tue, 04/18/2017 - 6:17 am

Today, Jazz Middelheim, which is being held from 3 through 6 August in Antwerp’s Park Den Brandt, is announcing several of the artists that will be performing this summer. Randy Weston, Bill Frisell ‘All We Are Saying’, Mingus Big Band, and Tony Allen Quartet: Tribute to Art Blakey have all confirmed that they’ll be in the park in Antwerp on 5 August. Ruben Machtelinckx will be demonstrating the various forms of his art on the Club Stage.

Saturday, 5 August 2017, the third day of Jazz Middelheim 2017, is an homage to the jazz greats. Randy Weston, the grandfather of jazz, has achieved an incredible career spanning no less than seven decades (!!). His most recent album, The African Nubian Suite, is a blend of rhythmic African heritage and distinct jazz elements. The influences of the greatest American composers and jazz legends, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, will audibly usher in the night when this other jazz great literally and figuratively shuts the festival day down. But before Mr Weston takes to the stage, legendary guitarist Bill Frisell will reinterpret John Lennon’s musical oeuvre, under the name ‘All We Are Saying’. He and his band have gotten rid of all the lyrics in the numbers, making room for the underlying elegant and melodious jazz versions. Mingus Big Band has also confirmed it will be there the same day. None other than bassist Charles Mingus took to the stage at Jazz Middelheim 1976, and now this summer, the Mingus Big Band, which won a Grammy in 2011 for ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’, will be performing a variation on Mingus’ work that encompasses the best parts of his legacy. Tony Allen Quartet will get the party started on 5 August with a tribute to bebop drummer Art Blakey.

Ruben Machtelinckx is the star of the Club Stage. Together with likeminded artists that take improv to the pinnacle of great art, he will be performing consecutive sets with Linus + Økland/Van Heertum/Zach, Machtelinckx/Jensson/Badenhorst/Wouters, Linus + Skarbø/Leroux, and Linus + Økland/Van Heertum/Zach.

The entire Jazz Middelheim 2017 programme will be announced at 11 a.m. on 2 May.

Tickets are on sale via the website www.jazzmiddelheim.be and in Fnac shops.

Info: www.jazzmiddelheim.be  3-6 August 2017, Park Den Brandt, Antwerp

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 6:35 am

After previously announcing headliners Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, Trixie Whitley, Wayne Shorter, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Norah Jones, Gent Jazz Festival released the final names for its sixteenth edition today. The first day of the festival on 6 July is a day of celebration thanks to the arrival of the icon of pop herself and diva par excellence, Grace Jones. GoGo Penguin, Miles Mosley, Kadhja Bonet, and United Vibrations have also confirmed their attendance for the same day. The arrival of enfant terrible Peter Doherty will turn Friday, 14 July, for which singer Trixie Whitley (a native of both Ghent and New York) had already confirmed, into a rocking party. Stadt will be opening the Main Stage that same day.

The first day of the festival on Thursday, 6 July, is a day of celebration thanks to the arrival of the icon of pop herself and diva par excellence, Grace Jones! Amazing Grace, the diva who turned her androgynous and extreme look into her trademark, the model celebrated from Paris to New York, and the Bond Girl to Roger Moore’s James Bond, among other big screen performances, has confirmed her appearance at Gent Jazz Festival. Known for her hits “My Jamaican Guy”, “Slave to the Rhythm”, and “I’ve Seen That Face Before”, which are rightly included in many timeless lists, she effortlessly segued from disco to dub reggae, into new wave, avant garde, and pop. Nearly a decade after her last album, Hurricane, she will be transforming the Bijloke Site into New York City’s infamous Studio 54 night club for just one special night, as an unforgettable close to the very first day of the festival’s sixteenth edition!

But before Grace Jones takes to the stage, GoGo Penguin will perform their latest album, Man Made Object. After their last visit to Gent Jazz Festival in 2015, these three Brits from Manchester had the rides of their lives for two amazing years, including a nomination for the Mercury Prize short list, and a deal with one of the three major jazz labels, Blue Note Records. Now, these three musical elites and ambassadors of the new school of jazz are being compared to the likes of Kamasi Washington and BadBadNotGood. Honest-to-goodness music! Plus, Miles Mosley, the Jimi Hendrix of the string bass, has also promised to be there on 6 July. This man is the founder of the West Coast Get Down band, and has also performed and recorded with, and produced artists such as Mos Def and Cee Lo Green. He’s also signed up to collaborate on three numbers on Kendrick Lamar’s album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and agreed to be the contrabassist on Kamasi Washington’s triple album, The Epic. Kadhja Bonet, whose debut LP, The Visitor, got all the attention last year and whose velvety vocals are splendidly evocative of Shirley Bassey and Roberta Flack, will be opening the day. United Vibrations, the band created around drummer Yussef Dayes, from previous Yussef Kamaal band fame, and bassist Kareem Dayes, will be taking to the Garden Stage.

The arrival of famed British musician Peter Doherty will turn Friday, 14 July, for which singer Trixie Whitley (a native of both Ghent and New York) had already confirmed, into a rocking party. Known as the founder of The Libertines and as Babyshambles’ front man, he made his solo debut in 2009. After Grace/Wastelands, we had to wait a while for new solo work, but last year, the British enfant terrible made a great comeback with Hamburg Demonstrations. When Doherty performs solo, he steps away from The Libertines’ punk vibe and all the controlled chaos that is Babyshambles, and brings the innermost feelings of his poetic universe out into the open. The tormented artist is known by his song, and this promises to be a passionate one! Stadt, the grand cru of the Ghent music scene, has a love for elaborate rock songs and improv, and will be opening the Main Stage on 14 July.

Gent Jazz Festival will also be introducing cashless payment this year. Instead of paying using drink and food tickets, you can use a personal pass to pay for these things at all of the bars and food stands. The benefits are numerous: no more searching for cash, coins, or tokens, shorter queues, a safe and fast system, plus no hassle at the register. You can load an amount of your choosing on this card, either from home beforehand or once you get to the festival, which you can then safely and securely use to pay just by swiping it over the reader.

Now, there’s no excuse for letting your food go cold. Especially not the food made by the chefs responsible for this year’s catering. Seppe Nobels, of Graanmarkt 13 notoriety, is famous for his innovative, yet healthy recipes and has been named one of the 25 best vegetable restaurants in the world by Gault&Millau. Together with Frank Fol, who has been heading the restaurant Sire Pynnock in Leuven, this year’s festival not only promises to provide musical delights, there’s also going to be culinary climaxes focusing on delicious, season-specific, local products! In addition to the various food trucks that will be present at the festival, Frank Fol and Seppe Nobels will being opening up a pop-up restaurant at Gent Jazz Festival, where these veggie chefs will pamper visitors to the fullest with fresh, healthy culinary delights! Reservations will soon be possible via www.gentjazz.com.

Tickets are on sale via the website www.gentjazz.com and in Fnac shops.

Info: www.gentjazz.com 6-15 July 2017, Bijloke Site, Ghent

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 6:46 am

The 36th edition of Jazz Middelheim will be held from 3 through 6 August this year, which is slightly earlier than the weekend of 15 August, which is when the festival is normally held. “In cooperation with several other international festivals, we try to make sure that the public from all around the world can enjoy their favorite acts every year. In order to be assured that we could put the right programme together, we moved the festival up a little bit this year,” explains festival organizer Bertrand Flamang.

Thursday, 3 August, the first day of the festival, will be opened by artist in residence, Mark Guiliana. Guiliana has already performed together with stars such as Brad Mehldau and Avishai Cohen, as well as being put in the spotlights as drummer on Blackstar, David Bowie’s last album. He and his quartet will be presenting his most recent album, Family First, at Jazz Middelheim. This album highlights just one facet of this incredibly talented drummer and musician. Also in the line-up for 3 August: Antoine Pierre Urbex. Young drummer Antoine Pierre, who has, among other things, participated in TaxiWars, the jazz project by dEUS-frontman Tom Barman and sax player Robin Verheyen, will be presenting his first album, Urbex, and his own band. The name is short for Urban Exploration, compositions created on the foundation of the city and the aesthetic of abandoned buildings. We’ll then come across Joshua Redman. This sax player, who has traversed all jazz paths, and his Still Dreaming quartet will be reinterpreting the historic “Old and New Dreams” quartet from the 1970s and 1980s. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels will close the first day of the festival. This celebrated sax player took the first steps into a musical life, with famed travelling companions such as Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock, and Keith Jarrett, at the end of the 1950s. He and his own quartet achieved a sort of pop star status at the end of the 1960, after which Lloyd withdrew from the music scene for a while. Several years later, Charles Lloyd decided to dedicate himself fully to the music again. On this day, the Club Stage belongs solely to Jozef Dumoulin, the Belgian keyboard player with a base of operations in Paris. Dumoulin is showing up increasingly more on the international stage and has teamed up with several of the New York scene’s driving forces. He will be playing one set after another together with Plug and Pray, True Company #1, Trojan Panda, and Jozef Dumoulin & The Red Hill Orchestra.

On Friday, 4 August, we will be surrendering to a series of English musicians, during which Portico Quartet will be breaking the ice with their newest music. They shot from a busking collective playing the streets of London to a quartet that was nominated for the illustrious Mercury Prize and was brought into the famous Real World label by owner Peter Gabriel himself. Together with BadBadNotGood, GoGo Penguin, and our very own STUFF., they are a part of the vanguard of the constantly self-reinventing experimental jazz. Artist in residence Mark Guiliana will be performing under the name Mark Guiliana Beat Music on day two. Guiliana doesn’t shy away from a heaping portion of improv. He’s also not afraid to throw out the set list completely, which results in a unique, improvised concert. So get ready for an eclectic mix of jazz, soul, rock, electronica, and loads of samples performed by a progressive quartet! Matthew Herbert’s Brexit Big Band will take to the stage afterwards. Matthew Herbert launched his new project, ‘Brexit Big Band’, to coincide with the Brexit. The project will end in 2019, when he releases his newest album - at the same time that the United Kingdom leaves the EU. When playing live, the band is an artistic party that focuses on musical collaboration without any borders. The Cinematic Orchestra, the company set up by Jason Swinscoe under the independent label Ninja Tune, will close this day of the festival. They released a new single, ‘To Believe’, last year as a preview of their upcoming new album. Since their creation in 1999, the band has ‘only’ released three regular albums. Ma Fleur, released in 2007, is still the most recent of their three LPs. Chantal Acda will be surrounding herself with fabulous folks while performing four different sets on the Club Stage that day.

Saturday, 5 August, is the day of tributes. Randy Weston will be performing an homage to Thelonious Monk in the context of Monk 100, Bill Frisell has selected pieces from John Lennon’s oeuvre with ‘All We Are Saying’, Mingus Big Band will be honouring - who else - Charles Mingus, while Tony Allen Quartet will be bringing Art Blakey - one of the most famous and most influential drummers that ever lived - back to this Antwerp park for a while. Ruben Machtelinckx will be demonstrating the various forms of his art on the Club Stage.

Sunday, 6 August, the last day of the festival, will start out with the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp’s coaching project. Every year, the Conservatoire gives a few promising young musicians the opportunity to develop a project together with a renown international artist. This year’s students will be working together with artist in residence Mark Guiliana under the name Penny Freeman. Thereafter, Becca Stevens will take to the Main Stage. The New York Times referred to her as a best kept secret and she has previously worked with stars such as Brad Mehldau, Vijay Iyer, and Snarky Puppy. She accompanies herself enchantingly on the guitar and ukulele. Dans Dans, the trio made up of Bert Dockx (Flying Horseman), Frederic Lyenn Jacques (Mark Lanegan, Lyenn), and Steven Cassiers (Dez Mona, DAAU), has a live reputation that extends far beyond our national borders, turned themselves into a one-of-a-kind trio in no time. With four albums under their belt, they perform a unique, atmospheric, and refined mix that stands out beautifully live; a dose of young musical power at its best! We will end Jazz Middelheim 2017 on a high note of unbelievable proportions: none other than Van Morrison will grace us with an exclusive performance! The Irish legend needs no more introduction than that. Last year, Van the Man added his newest album, Keep Me Singing, to his almost 50-album-rich oeuvre. It’s the newest addition to a repertoire that includes numerous hits, such as “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Domino”, “Did Ye Get Healed”, and “Have I Told You Lately”. Van Morrison turns the stage into a danger zone and will keep doing so until his last breath, as his fate allows! The Belgian jazz sax player, Nicolas Kummert, plays in four different set-ups and closes the Club Stage on the last day of festival.

Jazz Middelheim will also be introducing cashless payment, thanks to ING, this year. Instead of paying using drink and food tickets, you can use a personal pass to pay for these things at all of the bars and food stands. The benefits are numerous: no more searching for cash, coins, or tokens, shorter queues, a safe and fast system, plus no hassle at the register. You can load an amount of your choosing on this card, either from home beforehand or once you get to the festival, which you can then safely and securely use to pay just by swiping it over the reader.

Now, there’s no excuse for letting your food go cold. Especially not the food made by the chefs responsible for this year’s catering. Seppe Nobels, of Graanmarkt 13 notoriety, is famous for his innovative, yet healthy recipes and has been named one of the 25 best vegetable restaurants in the world by Gault&Millau. Together with Frank Fol, who has been heading the restaurant Sire Pynnock in Leuven, this year’s festival not only promises to provide musical delights; there’s also going to be culinary climaxes focusing on delicious, season-specific, local products! In addition to the various food trucks that will be present at the festival, Frank Fol and Seppe Nobels will be opening up a pop-up restaurant at Jazz Middelheim, where these veggie chefs will pamper visitors to the fullest with fresh, healthy culinary delights! Reservations will soon be possible via the www.jazzmiddelheim.be website.

Radio station Klara will be providing live colour commentary throughout the weekend. DJs Lies Steppe, Bart Vanhoudt, and Karel Van Keymeulen will be serving up interviews with musicians and visitors, as well as reporting from behind the scenes and right in the middle of the festival site.

PRACTICAL INFO

Tickets are on sale via the website www.jazzmiddelheim.be and in Fnac shops.

Info: www.jazzmiddelheim.be 3-6 August 2017, Park Den Brandt, Antwerp