The whole experience is something quite special, says Erik Moseholm, chairman of the jury. A professional double bassist who toured worldwide with jazz bands and who founded the European Jazz Orchestra, is now 80 years old. He’s such a fan of Jazz Hoeilaart that, despite deciding to retire from the orchestra next year, he’ll keep the Hoeilaart date in his diary.
During each evening of the festival, two of the six finalists play a 45-minute set, at least one song of which is complemented by an established jazz artist. Five of the young finalists were selected from a list of about 45 entries from 19 different countries based on submitted demos. As is traditional, the sixth finalist is the winner of Spain’s Getxo Jazz Festival, an honour that this year has gone to Poland’s Wierba & Schmidt Quintet (pictured).
The six finalists will also compete for a €500 composition prize by performing a new work provided by Sabam, the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers. The prize will go to the group considered to have best interpreted the work.
Since Jazz Hoeilaart started in 1979, it has grown from being an event just for Belgian and Dutch groups to a truly international festival with entries from around the world. This year groups are coming from, for example, the US, Finland and Germany. It is this global touch that marks the festival out from other competitions for young jazz talents, according to Bernard Lefèvre, the chief editor of Jazzmozaïek magazine, (whose 10th anniversary will be celebrated at the festival).
“Mostly, competitions in different countries support primarily the local scene. Here it is really an international scene,” Lefèvre says. He highlights eastern Europe as a region that has “a very busy scene which is not well known.”
GC De Bosuil Witherendreef 1, Jezus-Eik