With Ghent’s famed Gent Jazz Festival kicking off tomorrow, we asked one of its curator, Davy Van Robaeys, to select some of his favourite Belgian releases for it. And, as expected, the selection tends towards the jazz, funk, groove and soul, save for Die Verboten’s monumental Live in Eivissa release.
1. Dans Dans – Au Hazard (From the album I/II 2013)
Belgian trio combining jazz, rock, blues & psychedelic music with a very cinematic twist. Best seen live.
2. STUFF. – Java (From the album STUFF. Buteo Buteo 2015)
One of the most exciting young Belgian bands with lots of loops and samples. They described themselves before as ‘Live GlitchTripHop’. Inspiration comes from various genres from Herbie Hancock to J Dilla, Flying Lotus, etc. They are a bit the forerunners of a very interesting new scene within Belgian jazz but definitely do not limit themselves to just jazz.
3. Wizards Of Ooze – Trippin (From the album The Dipster BMG Ariola Belgium 1994)
Legendary Belgian funk/fusion band from the acid jazz era. In the ‘90s they a had a very non-Belgian sound which made they were one of the few bands in this genre around that time period.
4. Placebo – Humpty Dumpy (From the album Ball of Eyes 1971)
Marc Moulin is of course a very important figure in Belgian music. Both as a musician and as a journalist (radio, print). With Placebo they incorporated a lot of influences from bands like Soft Machine. This particular song got remixed by J Dilla.
5. Allez Allez – African Queen (EMI/Scalp 1981)
Dedicated to Grace Jones. However quite successful the band only existed a few years. Of course lots of African influences but also disco, new wave, funk and more. To be found on lots of compilation albums like the Eskimo Recordings compilations.
6. Orange Black – (We’ve lost) Gravity (From the album Morning Notes Labelman 2002)
Song from their last, and probably most known album, I discovered the track through the show Duyster on Studio Brussels.
7. dEUS – w.c.s. (first draft) (From the album Worst Case Scenario Label Mercury 1994)
Not much introduction needed I guess. Debut album by one of the most influential Belgian rock bands and truly a landmark in Belgian music history. The song incorporates a Frank Zappa sample (from Little Umbrella’s) and a Don Cherry sample (from Base Figurine for Ballatune).
8. Aka Moon – Amazir (from the album Amazir Cypres Records 2006)
Iconic Belgian jazz band known for their multicultural approach and numerous collaborations with world musicians. This specific album was recorded with Magic Malik and Fabian Fiorini.
9. Die Verboten – Live in Eivissa (from the album ‘2007’ label DeeWee 2015)
One of the many projects by David & Stephen Dewaele (Soulwax, 2ManyDJs, etc.) here together Riton. First rumours about the release go back to 2007 (therefore the name of the album) but it was just released back in 2015. This 18 minute song was already released in 2009. Lots of references to krautrock, psychedelic electronica…
10. Melanie De Biasio – The Flow (From the album No Deal label Pias 2013)
Second album by this singer from Charleroi with a very minimal jazz sound, lots of silence in the music and a bluesy triphop sound. She just release a 24 minute album/track called Blackened Cities earlier this week.
11. Chakachas – Jungle Fever (From the album Jungle Fever label:Polydor 1972)
Instrumental explicit track with a very funky latin vibe. The band was ative from the ‘50s until somewhere in the ‘70s and does not sound Belgian at all. This song was used in the movie Boogie Nights and even the video game Grand Theft Auto.Gent Jazz Festival runs from 7th to 16th July and counts performances by Kamasi Washington, Jill Scott, The Budos Band and many more.