Born in Belgium in 1977.
Nine years later I started playing soprano saxophone with the local marching band in my home village Kanne. At first my father, who also plays saxophone, taught me how to play the instrument. After a while my parents dragged me into a music school against my will, probably to get me of the streets. Of course I'm very thankful to them that they kept on motivating me to play music!
The following twelve years I played classical music on alto saxophone. I was appearing as guest soloist with different bands and was winning the first prize as a soloist in a national contest.
Although I was playing only classical music, my interests comprised jazz and a lot of alternative music.
After finishing my studies as a wood-engraver I could get a job in a music store as repairman for woodwind instruments. The guy who taught me to do this, Sebastian Buchholz, was an excellent African jazz-saxophone player. This job brought me into contact with several other jazz musicians who invited me to their concerts and informed me about jazz records to listen to. At that time I got the chance to play in a semi-professional big band with a lot of jazz students who are now 'top of the bill' Belgian musicians. In this band I met Carlo Nardozza, who supported me with the preparation of the entrance exam of the Maastricht Conservatory and whose band I would join pretty soon after.
The beginning years as a jazz student
So, I quit my four year lasting job as a woodwind repairmen and inscribed at the Maastricht Conservatory at the age of 22. Finally I would get the chance to learn how to improvise and learn what jazz music was all about.
My first teacher was Toon Roos. We never played a lot during his lessons, he preferred to talk about life and music and we would listen to music a lot. Two and a half years later he resigned his teaching job and got substituted by tenor player Claudius Valk.
Claudius Valk showed me a lot of possibilities concerning improvising, playing with a certain attitude and expression. He demonstrated to me all kinds of skills in terms of sound and expansions of saxophone playing with different approaches. This opened up a whole new world to me!
During my studies I played and experimented extensively with the 'Carlo Nardozza Quintet'. All the members of this band started composing in order to find an own sound.
Especially Carlo Nardozza, he wrote one composition after the other (and still does).
For me that was a valuable experience because we where playing a lot of different styles and we tried to play our songs in many different ways. With this band we also had the chance to do a master class with Dave Liebman, who was the former teacher of Claudius Valk. In that time we where experimenting with free-jazz playing and composing. Mister Liebman liked our performance very much. It was very impressive to see and hear this man talking!
A while after that event I took some lessons with alto player Sherman Irby who played for several years with the Roy Hardgrove band. It was very nice to get lessons from a real alto player because up to that moment my teachers had always been tenor players.
As a graduate now I had the fortune to experience a few nice things.
With all kinds of jazz bands, big bands and theater productions I played at jazz festivals, theaters and clubs in Belgium, Netherlands (North Sea Jazz Festival), Germany, France, Luxemburg, Switzerland and the United States (Glenn Miller Birthday Festival).
Me and Carlo Nardozza played as guest soloists with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam.
Once in a while I appear on radio broadcasts like TROS Sesjun and TROS muziekcafé.
With the 'Carlo Nardozza Quintet' we won the 'Young Talent Competition 2005' of the Blue Note Festival in Gent. So next year we have the honor to open the festival and we also won a tour throughout Belgium (JazzLabSeries).