Already at the age of 25, the drummer Antoine Pierre has become a key figure in Belgian jazz. Since turning 18, he has been playing alongside the eminent guitarist Philip Catherine. He now also plays in Toine Thys’ fiery trio, as well as with the trumpet player Jean-Paul Estievenart. Pierre can also be found in the LG Jazz Collective septet (Octave for the best Belgian jazz album of 2015) and will soon be touring with the new project from pianist David Thomaere. Since 2014, he has been accompanying the phenomenal Tom Barman in TaxiWars, the jazz vs. rock experiment with sax-player Robin Verheyen and Nic Thys on double bass.

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Almost straight out of music college in Brussels, he was awarded the Toots Thielemans Jazz Award in 2014. He then left for New York for a year so as to plunge even more into music but also to work on his drumming more deeply. He returned to Belgium a lot, however, for tours and studio work.

Throughout the various projects that covered several albums, he fine-tuned his approach and style. This led to him to stand out clearly and be welcomed by the finest players. In 2015, he received the SABAM Jazz Award and the Young Talent Award at the Belgian Jazz Meeting in Bruges. As they said, “The unquestionable international development of his career as a drummer and composer, backed by the recognition of his talent by the best jazzmen, clearly confirms our choice.” By then, Pierre had already played with musicians such as Philip Catherine, Philippe Aerts, Enrico Pieranunzi, Didier Lockwood, Frank Vignola, Tim Armacost and Steve Houben. His sources of inspiration are broad, from Brad Meldhau to Pat Metheny as well as Senegalese music. His playing is remarkable, and his touch as a composer is already recognisable.

Urbex, the drummer’s first solo outing
Melodic jazz and original compositions; Pierre creates elaborate music with expressive melodies, captivating peaks, energy and style.

The rhythm section is built around three musicians. Pierre, a drummer with audacity, found a suitable partner in Frédéric Malempré that plays eclectic percussions. As a subtle sound effect maker, Malempré plunges into the music by providing colour to Pierre’s flights using exotic, wry touches. On electric bass, Felix Zurstrassen has a firm hold on the rudder facing the high seas with beats and off-beats. He brings the crew to port, anchoring his companions’ flights during their solos and when things spiral upwards. The pianist Bram De Looze spreads as many notes as he does smiles, adding free, inspired interventions in complex but brilliant chords. Bert Cools, on electric guitar, weaves silky melodies, often with a nostalgic touch, that sink in with their delicate and subtle modulations. Lastly, the horns – Steven Delannoye and Toine Thys on sax and Jean-Paul Estievenart on trumpet – together pull the audience towards explosive climaxes. The trumpet is fragile when Jean-Paul gives it all his soul but sometimes seems to falter, doubt and break before rising again in a cascade of notes.

TaxiWars // TaxiWars (Universal Music S.A.- april 2015)
Toine Thys Trio // Grizzly (Igloo – Febr. 2015) Must TSF JAZZ, Découverte Jazz News
LG Jazz Collective // New Feel (Igloo – Nov 2014) Octave best album jazz 2015
Jean-Paul Estiévenart // Wanted (W.E.R.F. – Sept 2013)
Philip Catherine // Côté jardin (Challenge Records – Nov 2012)

Sabam Jazz awards 2015, Toots Thielemans Jazz Award 2014, Brussels Jazz Marathon 2010, meilleur soliste Comblain Jazz Festival 2009, meilleur soliste et meilleur groupe jeune talent

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