Living legends and new talent perform as Jazz Middelheim celebrates 50 years

Next month the Jazz Middelheim festival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. A number of jazz’s living legends are set to perform including Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Charles Lloyd, David Murray Quartet ft. and Saul Williams. Other artists a this bill of this Golden Jubilee edition of the festival include the Louis Cole Big Band and Nuyba Garcia. 

In 1969 what was then the BRT organised a series of first jazz concerts in the Middelheim Park in Antwerp for the first time. The former VRT radio presenter and jazz musician Marc Van den Hoof recalls that the first Jazz Middelheim “was a gathering of ardent jazz lovers and they were in the minority at the time. Pop music was everywhere, and people paid little attention to jazz.”

A tribute to Toots Thielemans

By far the most nostalgic concert of this year’s Jazz Middelheim will be Grégoire Maret and Kenny Werner's Tribute to Toots Thielemans. They will be accompanied musicians including Dré Pallemaerts and Philip Catherine. The festival’s organisers say that Toots Thielemans was the greatest ambassador for over the past half a century.

With Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Charles Lloyd, Enrico Rava, Joe Lovano Tapestry Trio and Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids, there are even more jazz legends on the bill this year.  

Contemporary jazz and new talent

With Ambrose Akinmusire (artist in residence) and Nubya Garcia, the cream of the contemporary American and British jazz crop is also present at the festival, and with Ragini Trio and Anneleen Boehme, who will curate the Garden Stage on August 16, the Belgian jazz scene is well-represented as well. The festival will also look to the future. BeraadGeslagen (aka STUFF. drummer Lander Gyselinck and De Beren Gieren pianist Fulco Ottervanger) will curate the line-up of the festival’s third day. This will include

several of their own projects and performances from quirky pop musicians such as the Louis Cole Big Band, WWWater and Benny Sings.


Practical information

Jazz Middelheim
Park Den Brandt, Antwerp
Thursday 15 August - Sunday 18 august 2019
info & tickets: www.jazzmiddelheim.be