08 July 2013

Zarlardinge jazz 1

Pics and text by Neal Gowan, CJ’s foreign correspondent in Belgium

Your Belgian correspondent checking in again :) We are over here (Belgium) again for 2 months. Have been mostly checking out the food, beer, museums and taking in some good music. Last Thursday we went to see the Big Band '86 again. The band is headed by Marc Godfroid, a trombonist with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra (BJO). Marc is also a teacher of jazz trombone at the Conservatory of Ghent. The band comprises teachers from the Conservatory, students and some other members of the BJO.

Normally the band plays in the small Café De Eendracht in the town of Gerhaadsbergen, about 55km south-ish of Gent in Belgium. However this time it was a special celebration of the band's 100th performance since forming in 1986. This show was held outside Gerhaadsberben at the village region of Zarlardinge and inside a 15th century barn on a farm. The change of location was due to the popularity of the band and the number of people coming to see it. And the best part, the show was free! … apart from the beer :) Some top Belgian jazz players were sitting in on the gig, including Bert Joris (trumpet, flugelhorn) and the conductor of the BJO, Frank Vaganée (sax). There were also additional members of the BJO outside those already playing in the Big Band '86.

The 15th century barn itself was a typical old vaulted ceiling building but with a purpose built stage and lighting at one end and a permanent bar at the other. Large ceiling beams blocked a little of the players heads but not too much of a problem. The family who own the farm host a number of shows during the year. This show was great (maybe it was the Belgian beer). The acoustics were pretty good and the PA did its job. The crowd a bit noisy near the bar with a number of "shooshings" from the front during the night. Tunes varied from big band style to Miles-esque, and some that reminded me of the old Daly Wilson Big Band days.

Somebody has put up YouTube clips up of bits of the show:

Bert Joris playing one of the quieter tunes at the show
Dieter Limbourg BJO saxophonist

cheers, Neal

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