It was 2016 when the idea of “The Future Is Now” project first took shape. The project saw the musicians of Brussels Jazz Orchestra work daily with the youngest generation of jazz musicians and eventually selected eight exceptional talents to join them on stage.
During the last four concert seasons, the orchestra toured with two young talents at a time with the end result and icing on the cake, a full length concert film titled “The Future Is Now”, that today was shared with the world. In addition to the concert performances, the film also includes interviews with the young musicians, who entered the studio with the BJO in April 2021.
For the project, the participants, Artan Buleshkaj (guitar), Muriel Urquidi (vocals), Matthias Van den Brande (tenor sax), Lennert Baerts (tenor sax), Roeland Celis (guitar), Quinten De Craecker (trombone), Jesse Dockx (drums) and Hendrik Lasure (piano) each wrote a composition, which was arranged for BJO.
During the period when live concerts were impossible due to the COVID lockdowns, in April 2021, Brussels Jazz Orchestra decided to give The Future Is Now project a worthy finale. The promising musicians were invited to the studio to record – in the company of the orchestra – their self-written compositions. They were not only filmed during the recording, but were also asked to talk about their experience on camera in between. The individual compositions were already shared online in August 2021, but now there is also the integral film. The Brussels Jazz Orchestra fully supports new talent and wants to put the next generation of jazz musicians in the spotlight with this full-blown concert film. The Future Is Now!
Since the recordings, the soloists of The Future Is Now have added many great projects to their musical record of achievements.
Artan Buleshkaj plays as a sideman in numerous formations and bands but focuses mainly on his quartet Anemic Cinema, which combines the harsh intensity of metal with the unpredictability of improvisation.
Muriel Urquidi teaches at various academies, lends her voice to various projects (including Celestial Planes by Roeland Celis) and shared the stage at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in 2021 with Brussels Jazz Orchestra for a concert of the In The Pines project (replacing Lynn Cassiers).
Matthias Van den Brande assists several groups as a sideman, including the quintet of that other (very young) talent Eliott Knuets. Matthias and his trio won both the B-Jazz International Contest and the ‘Grand Prix du Jury’ at the Avignon Jazz Festival this summer.
Lennert Baerts has been teaching composition at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp since this academic year, leads the band ANTI-PANOPTICON, composes for and plays with the Muze Jazz Orchestra, shared a recording studio with Bert Joris and was one of Klara’s De Twintigers in 2021.
In April this year, Roeland Celis released the debut album of his band Celestial Planes (also featuring tenor saxophonist Lennert Baerts and singer Muriel Urquidi, among others). He also plays with such resounding names as HAST and NABOU.
Quinten De Craecker worked on music for his own ’11tet’ and plays as a sideman with numerous formations and bands such as The Hop ‘sh Bam Connection and Big Band 86.
Jesse Dockx was able to move to New York City thanks to a grant from the Belgian American Educational Foundation, where he studied at the City College of New York and took lessons with Eric McPherson and Adam Cruz, among others. He occasionally leads a few bands of his own, is active in projects such as ANTI-PANOPTICON (by Lennert Baerts) and was allowed to share the stage with Joe Lovano, Tutu Puoane and Bert Joris, among others.
Hendrik Lasure was tipped by Klara in De Twintigers in 2022, plays keyboard with schntzl (a duo with drummer Casper Van De Velde) and keys and synthesiser with Bombataz, which brings music to dance to. He will soon release a new album with ‘Het Wiel’ on Unday Records.
More information can be found at the Brussels Jazz Orchestra’s website.
Last modified: March 9, 2023