Jazz Middelheim: Almost as usual.

Written by | Festivals, News

Jazz Middelheim in Antwerp is the first major jazz event in Belgium that can take place without additional restrictions due to corona. Park Den Brandt has been the place where the festival has been taking place for many years and from Friday 13 to Monday 16 of August once again there will be concerts presented on both the Main Stage and the Club Stage. Finally another jazz festival held in the “old-fashioned” way: the border is open again to international musicians and add to this it’s Jazz Middelheim’s birthday: this edition is the organizations 40th festival.

On the opening day of the festival, London comes to Antwerp with the Portico Quartet, Alfa Mist and Emma-Jean Thackray as guests on the Main Stage. They represent the contemporary jazz scene in the English capital. The Belgian band Stuff ends the day with fireworks, judging by their last album “T(h)reats”.

On Saturday 14 August, the super trio of saxophonist (and composer) John Zorn, violinist and performance artist Laurie Anderson and bassist Bill Laswell will headline the program. The three have been involved in avant garde jazz for decades. In addition the trio MixMonk is also one to look forward to. Pianist Bram de Looze, saxophonist Robin Verheyen and famous drummer Joey Baron bring the music of Thelonious Monk to life.

John Zorn, Photo by Bruno Bollaert

Tunisian oud legend Anouar Brahem will close the Main Stage on Sunday. He is preceded by singer Youn Sun no and clarinetist Michel Portal, who have their musical roots in Asia and Europe respectively. The Italian saxophonist Stefano di Battista is also performing on the 15th of August in Antwerp, he will be improvising on the film music of his famous compatriot Ennio Morricone.

Bassist Avishai Cohen closes the festival Monday on the main stage. Cohen played in Antwerp for the first time in 2012 and is now world famous and praised for his blend of jazz and classical music. Saxophonist Joe Lovano’s trio is also booked for Monday. Belgium is represented by master guitarist Philip Catherine, who performs his “Two Pianos Project” with the pianists Bert van den Brink and Nicola Andrioli.

Philip Catherine & Nicola-Andrioli

The Club Stage, where concerts take place during the breaks on the Main Stage, has a different curator each day of the festival. That artist composes the program and invites the guests to perform. The curators are: DJ Lefto, drummer Samuel Ber, saxophonist Toine Thys and bassist Lara Rosseel. The Club Stage is often a melting pot of styles and genres, of experiments and old school.

Please note that all ticket buyers will be required to present a covid passport or a negative covid test to enter the festival park! This is the only way to make sure that people can enjoy Jazz Middelheim safely.

Tickets cost €39 (August 13, 15) and €44 (August 14, 16), and can be purchased exclusively at their website.

Featured Image by Sabastian Wolosz.

Last modified: August 18, 2021