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2017 will be jazz year in Brussels

2017 will be jazz year in Brussels

In 2015, several key players of Brussels’ cultural scene set up a jazz platform in order to shine the spotlight on jazz in the capital. It was clear that the Brussels jazz scene was a beehive of activity. However, when compiling the entire list of events, the offer not only met but exceeded the expectations.

Every day, a multitude of live concerts across the city can be enjoyed, and Brussels boasts close to a dozen major jazz events and festivals every year.

Furthermore, this vibrant sector always provides for new initiatives and new cafés and clubs where you can appreciate jazz, set up shop on a regular basis.

Even some hotels jumped on the bandwagon and started organising jazz “apéro’s” and concerts in their elegant setting.

In 2017, all these efforts seem to combine and reach new heights: Flagey and AB Concerts celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first jazz record on vinyl; Unesco joins forces with, Flagey and quite a few jazz actors to highlight International Jazz Day even more on 30 April; our beloved Toots will be celebrated in various ways; this year, the Belgian Jazz Meeting will take place in Brussels and will for the third time draw a wide international audience; the legendary jazz band Aka Moon celebrates its 25th anniversary and not only releases a collector box but will also provide a few surprise acts.

And then, Brussels is of course home to undeniable proven assets such as Brussels Jazz Marathon, Brussels Jazz Festival, Brosella Folk & Jazz, Jazz Station… Not to mention the offer in the lively clubs and bars.

JAZZ 100: AB & Flagey celebrate 100 years of jazz!

The very first jazz album was released 100 years ago: The Original Dixieland Jass Band with ‘Livery Stable Blues’. That is why AB will be paying extra attention to jazz for a year. From contemporary classics to musical troublemakers who are inspired by jazz, to the latest incredibly headstrong local jazz generation.

On the occasion of this centennial anniversary, Flagey also invites all year round a host of internationally renowned musicians and up-and-coming Belgian talents. Jazz will be given top billing during Unesco’s International Jazz Day on 30 April, and the audience will be treated to a series of lectures on the history of jazz brought to them by our own radio broadcasting legends Marc Van den Hoof and Marc Danval. Even children will be well catered for with an array of activities to get acquainted in a fun way with this wonderful musical world.

The event will kick-off at the Brussels Jazz Festival: 10 days of concerts in all Flagey studios! Brace yourself for a jazzalicious year, fully dedicated to Jazz 100.

12.01 > 21.01.2017
Brussels Jazz Festival

With its third edition, there is every indication that Brussels Jazz Festival is well on its way to becoming a flagship event on the Brussels and international jazz landscape. The program is always getting stronger and also more adventurous.

Here is just a sample of the renowned musicians hitting the stage during Brussels Jazz Festival: Roy Hargrove, Makaya Mccraven, Vijay Iyer, Wadada Leo Smith, Brzzvll, Mark Giuliana, Avishai Cohen, Brussels Jazz Orchestra feat. Bert Joris, Lionel Beuvens, Tom Hareell, Drifter, Yaron Herman, Quinn Bachand, Phronesis, Nik Bärtsch, Sons of Kemet, Buscemi & Michel Bisceglia.

13.01 > 28.01.2017
River Jazz Festival

Jazz Station, Marni and Senghor – three concert halls on the banks of the old riverbed Maelbeek – initiated the River Jazz Festival. For three weeks, expect to be treated to exciting but also intimate performances. Their Focus on Chet Baker will shine the spotlight on both the man and his music, and sailing across a starry night, double-bassist Nicolas Thys will plot the course for the grand finale, River Jazz Night: an entire evening dedicated to three facets of the same musician… at three different venues.

11.01 > 29.01.2017

Spurred by Koen De Cauter, Brosella launched the very first edition of Djangofolllies to honour Django Reinhardt’s musical legacy, and in 1994 decided to make it an annual occurrence to celebrate Django’s birthday. It must be said that gypsy swing fans were far from getting their fill at the time. In the meantime, Djangofolllies has become a valuable asset and an annual fixture to the delight of both ‘Django’ style devotees and those who are being introduced to the genre for the very first time.

“Django has done something which very few of us could have done. He was so exceptional that he managed on his own to forge a new music genre named gypsy swing. He was a virtuoso guitarist with a sharp feeling for lyricism, structure and balance. His unmistakable genius lies in the way he so effortlessly combined jazz with musette and gypsy music to create masterpieces which have passed and will continue to pass the test of time. He is considered to be one of the most important musical icons of the 20th century.” (Waso De Cauter)

Toots Thielemans

We thought this day would never come, and yet, on 22 August 2016, Brussels lost its living legend of jazz. A great man with an even greater heart for music and everybody around him. Toots Thielemans’ remarkable career is being archived by family and close relatives, and will be made available at the Royal Library as of 2017. A Toots Thielemans Fund will also be set up.

On 29.04.2017, Toots’ birthday, we will pay tribute to him alongside the entire Brussels jazz sector with a wide range of activities: an exhibition at Jazz Station, a unique story-telling brimming with anecdotes, narrated by his ‘godchild’, themed walks in the Marolles and Molenbeek and, of course, a series of concerts.

All this is part of the International Jazz Day program, a day which in the name of Toots will just turn into an International Jazz Weekend!

International Jazz Day

In November 2011, UNESCO officially declared 30 April as ‘International Jazz Day’ in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people around the globe. As a true city of jazz, Brussels grabs this unique opportunity with both hands and needless to say, this day will be jammed-packed with jazz events across the city.

For the first time, Unesco,, Flagey and many other jazz and non-jazz actors in Brussels join forces to make sure this day will not go unnoticed. We even make it into an International Jazz Weekend. Indeed, since the birthday of jazz legend Toots Thielemans falls a day before the event, Brussels has got not one but two good reasons to celebrate.

26 > 28.05.2017
Brussels Jazz Marathon

At the end of May, Brussels will once again be brimming with jazz during the annual Brussels Jazz Marathon. Live performances will take place at Grand-Place, Sablon square, Saint-Catherine square, Ferdinand Cock square and Luxembourg square as well as in various indoor clubs and bars in the beautiful city centre.

Jazz, blues, funk, world… you name it! Just follow your ears as you stroll around the city. And as if that were not enough, add FREE entrance for everyone, a special Mini Marathon for kids, up- and downtown shuttles and a swinging, friendly atmosphere all over the city… Don’t miss out on this wonderful weekend!

8 & 9.07.2017
Brosella Folk & Jazz

Even in summer Brussels has some exquisite jazz concerts in store for you. For over 30 years, Brosella Folk & Jazz has been taking place at the foot of the Atomium.

A festival for young and old, where jazz goes hand in hand with children’s entertainment and a relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful Osseghem park. Big international names and future Belgian jazz legends hit the stage in what is fittingly called the ‘Théâtre de verdure’.

1 > 3.09.2017
Belgian Jazz Meeting

Every two years the Belgian jazz sector gets together and invites around a hundred foreign promoters and journalists to discover the best of Belgian jazz. Its previous editions took place in Bruges and Liège. This year, these foreign guests will get the opportunity to explore Brussels’ exciting jazz scene.

07 > 16.09.2017
Marni Jazz Festival

Marni Jazz Festival is the perfect opening act of the concert season. It covers every spectrum of jazz with its exceptionally eclectic line-up including both national and international artists. Every year, a different instrument is given centre stage.

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