All the articles

Finalists International Composition Contest 2020 announced

12 Jan 2020

The four finalists for the 2020 edition of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra International Composition Contest are Rainer Tempel (DE), Ralf Hesse (DE), Callum Au (GB) and Christopher Zuar (US). They receive a budget of €1000 and ten weeks time to write a new composition for Brussels Jazz Orchestra.

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Video: In The Pines première

13 Jun 2019

The premiere was performed last March 14th, accompanied by the singer Lynn Cassiers and with the visual support of illustrations from the Graphic Novel by Erik Kriek. In the Pines received an enthousiastic reception.

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8th International Composition Contest

02 May 2019

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 - November & December 2019
International Composition Contest Finalists announced
On 12 January 2020, Brussels Jazz Orchestra will play the compositions written by the finalists in its 8th International Composition Contest, in Flagey in Brussels. We received no less than 168 entries, from 27 countries and 6 continents (see a map here). A jury of 10 listened to all the entries and ultimately chose four finalists: Rainer Tempel (DE), Ralf Hesse (DE), Callum Au (GB) and Christopher Zuar (US – also a finalist in 2014).
Youth Jazz Collective in Ghent 2/11
On 2 November, the Youth Jazz Collective will give their best during a thrilling performance in Ghent’s Groenzaal. Starting at 6 p.m. you’re welcome to listen to the results of a week of intensive rehearsals with BJO musicians. Tickets can be ordered through Femke Coopmans of Muziekmozaïek.

Instagram Takeover on 1/11
On 1 November – the day before the concert – the YJC will take over the BJO Instagram account. Follow the Stories and watch out for the posts (@brusselsjazzorchestra) so you can follow the young musicians as they prepare for their concert with Brussels Jazz Orchestra.
Youth Jazz Collective is a big band youth project that started in 2018, an initiative of Muziekmozaïek Folk & Jazz, Brussels Jazz Orchestra and Vuurvogels.
'ECHANGƎ' with Pierre Drevet
For 18 years now, Pierre Drevet has been one of the pillars of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra trumpet section. In addition the BJO has called on his skills as an arranger and composer regularly in the past. He was commissioned by BJO to write a tribute to Maurice Ravel, of whom he is, in his own words, an ardent fan. Pierre has composed tons of repertoire for jazz orchestra: his creativity knows no bounds! On 27 November he’ll hold a residence in Vienne (FR) with BJO: 'ECHANGƎ', which revolves around new work by Pierre. 'ECHANGƎ' is made possible in part by the label Génération Spedidam.
Tickets and info.
New Wallace Brass mutes for trombone section
Thanks to JT Music BV for the support of our trombone section with Wallace Brass mutes.
(Photo by Iain Muirhead)
- 02/11 Youth Jazz Collective in Groenzaal, Ghent (B) Tickets.
- 08/11 'In The Pines' with Lynn Cassiers in Stadsschouwbrug, Bruges (B) Tickets.
- 27/11 'ECHANGE' with Pierre Drevet & Claire Vaillant in Le Manège, Vienne (FR)
- 01/12 'We Have A Dream' with Tutu Puoane in CC De Spil, Roeselaere (B) Tickets.
- 12/01/2020 Final BJO International Composition Contest in Flagey, Brussel (B) Tickets.


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:
Lode Mertens

How long have you been part of BJO?
Since 1993. They let me play as an 18-year-old kid, a few months after BJO was founded. I still remember that Frank Vaganée would pick me up at the station because I didn’t have a driving licence yet.
What do you play in the orchestra?
I play trombone, and I also write arrangements and compositions for the orchestra.
Why did you choose the instrument?
It’s the classic story: I started with trumpet as a boy but my lips couldn’t take it, which forced me to switch (I was already in the music academy) to trombone.

What do you do besides work in the orchestra?
With my soulmates Dieter Limbourg and Frank Deruytter I started the funk group 'OTOMACHINE', and Dieter and I write the arrangements. Like everybody, I freelance as a trombonist and arranger, and now and then I perform as a guest conductor. I also teach ensemble playing and big band arranging at the conservatoire in Brussels and ear training at the conservatoire in Ghent. And in addition to that I’m the coordinator and instructor in jazz brass at the Arts Academy of Geraardsbergen.
Which project do you or did you most look forward to this season and why?
We’ve done so many great projects in the last year. Maria Schneider was a high point, and so was Ambrose Akinmusire. Those productions teach you a lot and are good for your musical soul.
I was also very honoured to have my music played in the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Elbphilharmonie along with music by Dieter Limbourg. An ego-stroke for me (laughs).

What is your favourite BJO memory?
The funniest one is a concert long ago with Toots (Thielemans, ed.) in the south of France. We were playing in an old ruin, a beautiful picturesque place. We did the sound check with clear blue skies, and suddenly a storm hit. Everyone ran off the stage, but Toots couldn’t get away fast enough, so the tech guys came with a huge tarp to cover the brand-new grand piano and got Toots under it too. It was funny to see a living legend sitting peacefully and patiently under a plastic tarp. I even think he was still calmly playing a tune.

What was the last CD/Spotify track or radio hit you listened to?
Claus Ogerman & Michael Brecker: 'Cityscape'. While I’m renovating the kids’ room, I try to listen to nice music and Claus Ogerman always comes through with his enchanting arrangements.

Who would you like to invite to do a production with BJO and why?
Wynton Marsalis. It sounded impossible, but thanks to the drive and perseverance of BOZAR (Roel Vanhoeck) and our manager Koen Maes, this dream is coming true in February. It’s unreal! I have to confess though that I’m fairly nervous about playing with those big names (Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, ed.).


You can hear Lode Merten's musical choice here.
Video Goodies
A section in which we share an atypical view on the world of jazz & big-band.
This time: Animal - superdrummer and Muppet-personality - and a transcription by Jeff Gonzalez.
(Video: Ben Solomon for Supreme X Pearl Drums).
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
  • On 1/11 Frank will play in a trio with Dré Pallemaerts on drums and Jos Machtel on contrabass in Wiesbaden, Germany.
  • On 2/11 Frank will be a guest with the Hertmans, Sourisse and Charlier Trio in the Brussels jazz club Sounds. More info.
  • On 10/11 Frank will play in a trio at 'Hasselt In the Mood', with Toon Verbruggen on drums and Sam Gerstmans on contrabass. More info.
  • From 5/12 through 7/12 Frank will be a guest with the 'Jazz Band Graz' in Graz, Austria. More info.
  • On 13, 14 and 15/12, Frank will be part of the 'Jonas Van Geel – Peter Van Den Begin Big Band', with concerts in (respectively) Evergem, Vilvoorde and St. Lievens-Houtem. BJO colleagues Dieter Limbourg, Marc Godfroid, Lode Mertens, Laurent Hendrick, Serge Plume, Nico Schepers, Carlo Nardozza, Hendrik Braeckman, Bart De Nolf and Toni Vitacolonna are also in this orchestra. More info.
Bo Van der Werf
  • From 2 to 7/11 Bo Van der Werf will be in residence in the Fondation Royaumont (FR) where he’ll be working on a new project, in a sextet with Jozef Dumoulin, Bram De Looze, Nelson Veras, Cyrille Obermüller and Samuel Ber. More info.
  • Bo will also be artist in residence in l’EST (Espace Scéniqe Transdisciplinaire) in Grenoble (FR) from 18 to 20/12, developing a new project with flautist Magic Malik and mathematician Frédéric Faure. More info.
  • On 17/12 Bo will be on stage with 'The Workshop' in Paris.
Marc Godfroid
  • In December Marc will also be on stage with the 'Jonas Van Geel – Peter Van Den Begin Big Band' (13, 14 and 15/12). More info.
Lode Mertens
  • As he gets ready to record a CD with OTOMACHINE, Lode will play in The Preacher in Geraardsbergen on 21/12. More info.
  •   Lode will also be part of the 'Jonas Van Geel – Peter Van Den Begin Big Band' (see above), with shows from 13 through 15/12. More info. 
Carlo Nardozza
  • With 'Casa Nardo' Carlo organises house concerts and lectures in his own house. On 02/11 there’ll be a Q&A session on music and the psyche by Katia Malecki, and on 11/11 a benefit for King Saan Juun (with tai chi, yoga and a concert). On 14/12 Tim Filoulst will give a guitar master class, on 22/12 a house concert with Nadine Nix (vocals) and Frank Peeters (guitar) and on 13/01 the 'Harp & Bones' (duo Karen Peeters and Carlo Mertens) will play. More info.
  • On 16/11 Carlo will take part in a 'Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' in The Music Village, Brussels. More info.
  • During the All-Star Jam Session led by Carlo on 18/11 in café Charlemagne (Maastricht), keyboard player Bram Weijters will do a star turn. More info.
  • Carlo will be on tour in November and December along with Olivier Collette, Victor Foulon and Daniel Jonkers. On 30/11 at Jazz9 (Mazy), 04/12 at Jazz Station (Brussels), 05/12 in Le Rideau Rouge (Lasne), 13/12 in the Centre Culturel Eupen, and 14/12 in the Centre Culturel de Mouscron and 15/12 at Heptone (Itter).
Nathalie Loriers
  • On 7/11 Nathalie will play in Théâtre 140, where the new Michel Herr CD 'Positive' will be presented, along with Bert Joris, Dré Pallemaerts, Peter Hertmans, Paul Heller, Sam Gerstmans and the String Quartet (Benoît Leseure, Pierre Heneaux, Jean-François Durdu and Merryl Havard). More info.
  • On 22/11 Nathalie will be in the Brussels jazz club Sounds along with the Groovy Trio. More info.

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