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Etienne Verschueren
Information Discography
Instrument(s) Alto saxophone, Soprano saxophone, Composer, Arranger, Conductor, Piano
Date of birth 1928
Place of birth Renaix
Date of death 1995
Etienne VERSCHUEREN was born in Renaix (Ronse), Belgium, in 1928, of a musical family. He studies piano at the Music Conservatory of Ghent in 1945, then harmony in his home town. He starts playing the saxophone, on which he is self-taught.

Soon after World War 2, he works with the most famous professional bands : Willy ALBIMOOR, Mickey BUNNER. He shares his activities between piano and saxophone. In the fifties, while playing with Belgian tenor sax legend Jack SELS, he moves towards the alto sax.

He joins Roger VAN HAVERBEKE's "Belgian Bluebirds" then trumpet player Janot MORALES.

Etienne VERSCHUEREN starts getting involved with the Belgian bebop scene : René THOMAS, Jacques PELZER, Jean WARLAND, SADI, etc.

He also plays accordeon in the recording studios and develops a carreer as an arranger. He writes for famous singers Catherina VALENTE, Charles AZNAVOUR, etc...

In 59, he joins the Belgian radio (INR) big band led by Henri SEGHERS. He composes for this ensemble the music of "Suite en seize", a TV program that receives the "Rose de Bronze" award in Montreux (63).

The same year, the BRT radio hires him and soon selects him in 65 to be the leader of the "BRT Jazzorkest". Under his leadership, this big band will become an important institution on the musical scene, as well in Belgium as in Europe. They will perform every year at the "Jazz Middelheim" Jazz Festival in Antwerp.

As a leader, composer/arranger or saxophonist, Etienne VERSCHUEREN had the opportunity to work with the greatest American jazzmen. But he also promoted, with the help of radio producer Elias GISTELINCK, the music of Belgian composers and arrangers : SADI, Francy BOLAND, Jean WARLAND, Bert JORIS, Bob PORTER, Michel HERR, Freddy SUNDER and many others.

In 77, Etienne VERSCHUEREN founds the "Bop Friends" with Nick FISSETTE (tp), Tony BAUWENS (p), Roger VANHAVERBEKE (b) and Freddy ROTTIER (drs). The group recorded 2 albums. Another album, "Early Spring", recorded in 83, after a first eclipse as a saxophonist, presents him with pianist Charles LOOS, Roger VAN HAVERBEKE (b) and Freddy ROTTIER (drs).

He also recorded a big band album with pianist Jack VAN POLL : "Injacktion" (September 5118).

In 85, Etienne VERSCHUEREN is forced to give up the saxophone for health reasons. He then concentrates on his writing, plays the piano and communicates his enthousiasm for music to musicians of all generations.

This generous musician leaves us with several recordings, in which he shows a brilliant talent as a saxophonist and as a composer/arranger.

He wrote many pieces for jazz big band, for symphony orchestra ans a few film scores (a.o. André DELVAUX's "Une femme entre chien et loup").

A musician of great feeling, he was nicknamed "Mister Blue" by his peers.

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