All the articles

Premiere of the BJO-documentary!

09 Dec 2019

The premiere of 'Bring it to the People - the film about the Brussels Jazz Orchestra' takes place on January 12th in Flagey, Brussels.

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BREL with David Linx goes to Canada!

31 Dec 2018

In early February BJO and David Linx will go to Canada for 2 performances of BREL.

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We Have A Dream with Tutu Puoane goes to New York (US)!

31 Dec 2018

On 11 & 12 February the BJO and Tutu Puoane will perform We Have A Dream in Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City!

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In the news (VRT NWS)

01 Nov 2018

BJO25 Birthday tour with Maria Schneider (US)

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We Have A Dream goes symphonic...

31 Oct 2018

with OPRL (Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège) in Liège

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Launch of Youth Jazz Collective

27 Oct 2018

A new youth big-band project

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We Have A Dream featured on De Zevende Dag (VRT)

16 Apr 2018

On 15 April Tutu Puoane and several BJO musicians were guests on "De Zevende Dag" on the Eén (VRT) TV network.

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Tutu Puoane spoke with DownBeat (US)

10 Apr 2018

Q&A about We Have A Dream

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Downbeat magazine (US): Smooth Shake with best albums of 2017!

22 Feb 2018

****1/2 review for Smooth Shake with Bert Joris

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New album We Have A Dream with Tutu Puoane

22 Feb 2018

Now for sale in the BJO webshop!

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Brussels Jazz Orchestra Series: BJO sheet music now for sale

09 Nov 2017

The sheet music of many BJO arrangements (by Michel Herr, Frank Vaganée, Lode Mertens,...) now for sale in our webshop!

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BREL wins an Edison Award 2017

30 Jun 2017

In June 2017, the BREL album with David Linx wins a prestigious Edison Jazz/World Award.

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Newsletter in Dutch, English OR French

29 Nov 2016

Looking for a holiday gift?

24 Nov 2015

Check out the BJO umbrella

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Latest newsletter

News from the Brussels Jazz Orchestra - March & April 2020
BJO & JLCO with Wynton Marsalis
A Big Band Celebration

On Wednesday 19 February, Brussels Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis came together on the BOZAR stage to play a tribute to the big band. As Frank Vaganée told Peter De Backer of De Standaard, ‘This is our wildest dream coming true.’
After BJO and JLCO played separate sets (‘Warp 9’ by Bert Joris and ‘Jackie-ing’ by Monk) and exchanged soloists, they joined forces, with the 32 musicians performing ‘Carry on Carillon’ and ‘Bluesette’ together. The ‘alternative Belgian national anthem’ (as Frank described it) got thundering applause and a standing ovation from the 2200-strong audience. Afterwards, Wynton Marsalis’s satisfaction was evident, and he hinted at continuing the collaboration in New York.

Take a look at the video report of VRT NWS here.
Jazz for Young People
On Thursday 20 February, Brussels Jazz Orchestra and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra together held a day full of workshops and masterclasses for young musicians. After JLCO played a swinging school concert led by Wynton Marsalis (with our very own Nico Schepers on trumpet!), musicians from BJO and JLCO taught workshops including rhythm section, arranging and band coaching in the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels. Our big-band project Youth Jazz Collective also had a masterclass with JLCO trombonist Vincent Gardner in the BOZAR studio.
On Saturday 28 March ‘Night 352’ will premiere in the Handelsbeurs in Ghent. The Iraqi composer and qanun player Osama Abdulrasol specially arranged the saga ‘Night 352’ (from the famous story collection 1001 Nights) into a modern parable, that inspired him to write new compositions. His new music incorporates both his own story and that of Zumurrude, the white slave princess in the Arabian story from 1001 Nights. Brussels Jazz Orchestra is also jumping in, and together with Abdulrasol and singer Jahide Wehbe, they present a modern fairy tale about contemporary slavery, passion for music and setting boundaries. ‘Night 352’ unites a Western jazz orchestra and an Arabian harp, instrumental music and song, with an ancient but still-relevant story as a backdrop.
More info & tickets.
‘The Future Is Now’ is Brussels Jazz Orchestra’s look back at the roots of the big orchestras: the jazz clubs. On 25/04 BJO will be on stage in De Singer in Rijkevorsel with some talented young musicians: drummer Jesse Dockx and singer Muriel Urquidi. The program features compositions from BJO repertoire as well as works by the young soloists.
More info & tickets.
On 30/01 BJO, Monique Harcam, Zediam and DJ Grazzhoppa kicked off the new edition of ‘We Orchestrate Words’ in the Concertstudio in Kortrijk. Their mix of rap, soul and grooves had an enthusiastic response from the audience. Curious? ‘WOW’ will play again on 21/03 in CC Mechelen, 03/04 in Het Bolwerk (Vilvoorde) and on 30/05 during Brussels Jazz Weekend.
More info.
- 13/03 We Have A Dream with Tutu Puoane in Cultuurcentrum Belgica, Dendermonde (B) Tickets.
- 20/03 In The Pines with Lynn Cassiers in deSingel, Antwerp (B) Tickets.
- 21/03 We Orchestrate Words with Zediam, Monique Harcum and DJ Grazzhoppa in Cultuurcentrum, Mechelen (B) Tickets.
- 28/03 Premiere Night 352 with Osama Abdulrasol and Jahida Wehbe in Handelsbeurs, Ghent (B) Tickets.
- 03/04 We Orchestrate Words with Zediam, Monique Harcum and DJ Grazzhoppa in Cultuurcentrum Het Bolwerk, Vilvoorde (B), Tickets.
- 25/04 The Future Is Now with Muriel Urquidi & Jesse Dockx in De Singer, Rijkevorsel (B), Tickets.
Jammin' with Wynton
That evening in BOZAR’s Café Victor, Nathalie Loriers (piano), Bart De Nolf (contrabass) and Toni Vitacolonna (drums) started up a jam session with JLCO trumpeter Ryan Kisor. Later on, with the pub packed to the gills, various other eager musicians joined in, and shortly before midnight ‘the one and only’ Wynton Marsalis came to accompany the youthful jammers.
Enjoy a video of this moment.

You can get a peek behind the scenes by attending a Brussels Jazz Orchestra rehearsal! Discover how an orchestra does its job and observe the dynamics between musicians. How do they manage to play so tightly together? And how do they prepare for a concert?
Come to an open rehearsal - it's free!
It is necessary to register (see the links below).

Every rehearsal takes place from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm.
-19/03 In The Pines with Lynn Cassiers at Werkplaats Walter, Anderlecht.
-24/03 Night 352 with Osama Abdulrasol at Sonoro, Duffel.
-25/03 Night 352 with Osama Abdulrasol at Sonoro, Duffel.
-26/03 Night 352 with Osama Abdulrasol at Sonoro, Duffel.
-27/03 Night 352 with Osama Abdulrasol at Sonoro, Duffel.
BJO and Halewyn

From 27 July till 2 August 2020  Halewynstichting vzw and Brussels Jazz Orchestra join forces to run a jazz course together in Destelheide.
Together with Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Halewynstichting is adding the big band repertoire to its list, so that everyone can get to know this distinctive jazz style.

Early Bird till 31 March
You can subscribe through this link. Till March 31, you can subscribe as an 'early bird' and enjoy a reduction.
More info on our website.

Are you already following us on Facebook and Instagram?
Discover the latest news, take a peek behind the scenes and follow our concerts on social media.
Share your BJO experience at @brusselsjazzorchestra and #bjo.
Bring it to the People
You can still watch the documentary 'Bring it to the People. The film about the Brussels Jazz Orchestra' by Guy Fellemans at the following venues:

-15/03 during 'Casa Nardo verjaart', Casa Nardo, Bilzen (B).
-22/03 at CC De Ploter, Ternat (B).
-25/03 at Grignoux, Namen during the Confluent Jazz Festival (B).
-26/03 at Cinema ZED, Leuven (B).
-27/03 at Netwerk Aalst (B).
Watch a video of some of the behind-the-scenes action during the rehearsals for
'We Orchestrate Words'.

BJO Meet & Greet
In every BJO newsletter we're introducing you to someone connected with the orchestra, whether it's one of the players or someone behind the scenes. In this edition:
Toni Vitacolonna

How long have you been part of BJO?
This year it’ll be 10 years. My first concert was on 1 April 2010. At the time I thought it was an April Fool’s joke.
What do you do in the orchestra?
I'm the drummer.
Why did you choose this instrument?
Well, actually the drums chose me. My father is also a musician – he plays trumpet – so music was all around us at home. Despite being taught trumpet and piano by my father when I was little, I couldn’t help drumming on everything and making up beats. I would just start hitting anything I could find. Finally I got my way and they let me study drums at the local music school.
As far as my job with BJO is concerned, that came when I played a few concerts with the Lemmens Institute’s big band as a student. My father played a lot of big band CDs at home, so the sound was familiar. I always loved it, so big and cool. So when I got to play in the school big band, I tried to get that same sound and kick. Frank (Vaganée) thought I wasn’t bad, and when there was an opening for a drummer with BJO, he asked me if I’d like to give it a try. First concert, 1 April. I couldn’t believe it. I really thought it was an April Fool’s joke! (laughs)

What do you do besides playing in the orchestra?
A lot of different things. I play with Frank Deruytter’s ‘P-Funk Posse’: it’s great to play deep funk grooves. I also play with the singer-songwriter Tom Vanstiphout. He writes fantastically beautiful songs! I’m co-leader of the band ‘DelVita’, and we experiment with electronic and rock influences within the jazz idiom. I recently started something new with David Thomaere and Erik Rademakers, writing my own songs. I’m curious what that’ll produce!
Outside of that I do mostly freelance work and also more and more studio and session work. I had the good luck to play on the latest release by Clouseau, ‘Tweesprong’. Really fun and a fantastic experience.
As of this year I also teach jazz drums in the Conservatoire in Hasselt and pop drums at the KASK Conservatoire in Ghent. In short, I’m not so into labels, and I love music in the wider sense of the word. Everything has its strength and its challenges. I love that.
Which of this season's projects are or were you looking forward to the most and why?
We began with ‘WOW’ (We Orchestrate Words) this year. I think this is a super-fun project because it builds the bridge from big-band music to hip-hop and soul. A lot of things I love come together in this project. Beautiful soft orchestral sounds and tunes, as well as deep beats and good songs. Working with DJ Grazzhoppa, singer Monique Harcum and rapper Zediam is really great and it’s a change of pace compared to what BJO usually does. Also, the rhythm section has been expanded with David Thomaere on synths and Erik Rademakers on electric bass. I’m literally sitting between two worlds. On my right is our own acoustic rhythm section and on my left the electronic. It’s really fun.
The audiences at our first concerts went wild. I’m curious about the next shows. In April we’re taking this production into the studio. I’m looking forward to that too!
What's your favourite BJO memory?
It’s such a cliché to say ‘oh, there are so many…’ Last year we had that fantastic project working with Maria Schneider. Unforgettable!
But actually, there’s one memory that I’ll cherish forever. It was a boy’s dream come true. In 2012 we played for a whole week in ‘The Blue Note Jazz club’ in New York. Two concerts a day, and with music by and with pianist Kenny Werner, and with an extra soloist, saxophonist Chris Potter. That was an enormous kick!!
Not just the fact that you’re playing in such a legendary place in a hopping city like New York, but also that for a week you get to share the stage with such inspiring musicians.
Every day you could feel the band and the music growing. It all just got better and better, freer and freer, more and more powerful. If you play together so much in a short time, you get better and closer to each other with every day. That’s a feeling that you just can’t get doing occasional concerts.
Towards the end of the week everyone was playing the music more or less by heart, and it had become second nature. And to be able to do that, with people like Kenny Werner and Chris Potter who gave themselves to the music and the band, without any ego getting in the way… wow, that was unbelievable! A powerful experience I’ll cherish forever.

What was the last CD/Spotify track/radio hit you listened to?
I’ve been switching between two albums in the last little while. One is ‘Songs For Groovy Children: The Fillmore East Concerts’ by Jimi Hendrix. It’s a collection of 4 live sets recorded on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day of 1969/70. It’s with his (at that point) new trio, with drummer Buddy Miles (of whom I’m a big fan!) and bassist Billy Cox. What energy!!!! It’s a dream to play in a band like that!...
The other album is ‘All These Things’ van Thomas Dybdahl. Fantastic singer-songwriter. He always makes insanely good and unbelievable-sounding recordings. Somebody who always gets the most out of everything with regard to music and sound. I love it! He always works with the best musicians and engineers. The people on this one include one of my heroes, James Gadson, on drums and my number 1 producer/engineer Tchad Blake. Great record!

Who would you like to invite to play a production with BJO and why?
Lianne La Havas. I’m a huge fan! She’s an incredible personality, singer, songwriter and guitarist. Her music is a great mix of everything I like to listen to. Aside from the fact I’d really like to work with her, I think her way of making music would be a perfect fit with the BJO’s warm sound and subtlety. So who knows, at some point it all comes together.

Listen to the musical choice of Toni Vitacolonna:
Jimi Hendrix and Thomas Dybdahl.
BJO musicians perform | Our musicians have a lot more in their datebooks than BJO concerts. They play in other groups, organise projects or release albums, working with BJO colleagues or big names on the national and international jazz scene. We're proud to provide an overview of their calendars in every newsletter.
Frank Vaganée
  • Early March, Frank resides in Russia, where he is the invited soloist of the Russian jazz group Feelin’s. On 04/03 he plays two concerts with the group at Ryazan (RU) and on 05/03 at Lipetsk (RU).  More info.
  • On 06/03 Frank will teach a masterclass in Moscow at the ’Saxophone Salon Bird’. More info.
  • On 07/03 Frank is the invited soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow (RU). More info.
  • On 22/03 Frank is present at the festival Leuven Jazz, where he will conduct the LUCA Big Band with South-African singer Zoe Modiga. More info.
  • Leuven Jazz receives Frank again on 29/03 with the LUCA Big Band for ’The Music of Michel Legrand’ at 1.15 pm.  More info.
  • On the same day (29/03), Frank plays with the trio Vaganée-Gerstmans-Verbruggen at Café De Wei in Mechelen. More info.
  • On 26/04 the trio is invited to play during the 'Ham Sessies’ in Ghent. More info.
Marc Godfroid
  • On 26/03 Marc Godfroid and Phil Abraham present their trombone classes in The Preacher on the Markt in Geraardsbergen. More info.
  • On 02/04 the Big Band 86 - conducted by Marc - plays a theme concert in The Preacher (8.30pm) with the American trombonist Conrad Herwig as invited soloist. More info.
  • On 30/04 the Big Band 86 plays again in The Preacher (8.30pm), this time with American trombonist Jiggs Whigham as invited soloist. More info.
Pierre Drevet
  • On 15/05 the new album of Pierre's project ‘ECHANGE’ will be released. In November 2019, Pierre was received in Vienne (FR) in the context of the project, accompagnied by Claire Vaillant and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. More info.
  • Get a sneak peek of the new album and watch two videos on YouTube of 'Echange' and 'Aicha'.
Bo Van der Werf
  • On 11 and 12/03 Bo plays with the Sylvain Cathala septet at the Triton in Paris (FR). More info.
  • On 15, 16 and 17/03 Bo participates in the project ’Tonnetz’ (workshops and open rehearsals) at l’EST in Grenoble (FR) with Malik Mezzadri, Frédéric Faure and Alexandre Ratchov. More info.
Carlo Nardozza
  • On 15/03 ‘Casa Nardo’, the musical home project of Carlo and Katia Malecki, celebrates its 3rd birthday. They organise a screening of the BJO documentary ‘Bring it to the People’, a lecture on music and psyche and a concert of the Stefan Brancaval Trio. More info.
  • On 05/04 Casa Nardo invites Alessio Menconi and Bart Defoort, on 03/05 Tim Finoulst and Patrick Steenaerts will be present and on 31/05 the Frank Vaganée trio plays a concert. More info.
  • With Tim Finoulst and Christophe Devisscher, Carlo is working on the new album ’Triology’, a project on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Charlie Parker. The album will be released this summer. More info.
Nathalie Loriers
  • Nathalie is composing music for her new album. Follow the latest updates on her Facebook page.

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