By Luc De Baets

In Flemish it sounds like “Jazz please!”
Or “here you are! Some jazz!”

Jazz music in Flanders not only has to contend with a small market, the lack of a certain chauvinism, guts and resources makes it difficult to propel its talent beyond its borders. Despite musical ambassadors such as Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, Bert Joris and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra placing our small country on the map, much remains to be achieved.

Arts Centre De Werf has joined forces with the Flanders Music Centre, JazzLab Series and Jazzmozaïek – as part of the cultural festival Corpus Brugge ’05 – to produce the very first Flemish Jazz Meeting. Its goal is to promote and give international exposure to, our vibrant jazz scene, which has been flourishing since the nineties.

A comprehensive survey conducted with the Flemish media, organisers and promoters led to the selection of the following artists/bands (in alphabetical order): Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Bart Defoort Quartet, Kris Defoort, Jozef Dumoulin, Flat Earth Society, Chris Joris, Mâäk’s Spirit, Bart Maris, Jef Neve Trio, Octurn, Ben Sluijs Quartet, Jeroen Van Herzeele, Robin Verheyen and Erik Vermeulen Trio.

They all got the opportunity to perform at the Arts Centre De Werf in Bruges in front of a select gathering of Belgian and foreign organisers, promoters and journalists. The first Flemish Jazz Meeting, though incomplete, is nonetheless a kaleidoscope of Jazz in Flanders in 2005, a glimpse into a music scene in full expansion. With this CD, we are proud to present you the artists with a selection of material from their most recent CD’s or a live-performance.

The cd will be distributed in Belgium by the newspaper De Morgen. A version for professionals in de music scene is available at the Flemish Music Centre (please contact katrien@muziekcentrum.be if you wish to order a copy). It contains a booklet with an introduction on jazz in Flanders today, information about the artists and Flemish jazz festivals, organisations, clubs, labels, … (see Artists).

More information about the four Flemish organisations behind the project, and whose mission it is to breath new life into Flemish jazz, can be found on their respective websites: www.dewerf.be, www.jazzlabseries.be, www.flandersmusic.be, www.jazzmozaiek.be and in the magazine Jazzmozaïek.

Stef Coninx & Katrien van Remortel
(Flanders Music Centre)

Rik Bevernage & Filip Delmotte
(De Werf - Jazz Brugge)

Luc De Baets

Mik Torfs & Ilka Stevens
(JazzLab Series)