COACH: BOJAN Z (Serbia)
Multiple award-winning pianist Bojan Z (for Zulfikarpasic) was born in former Yugoslavia in 1968 and grew up in an environment where music was a widespread, daily activity.
Starting classical piano lessons at the age of 5, he found himself in the Belgrade rock scene as a youngster, obtained a scholarship at the age of 18 to study jazz with Clare Fischer in the US, to be awarded ‘Best Young Jazz Musician of Yugoslavia’ a few years later. At the age of 20 he left his hometown and settled in Paris, where he established himself as an inevitable element of the French jazz scene.
More than two decades later, he has an impressive record to his name. Apart from being a much sought-after sideman, collaborating with outstanding names like Henri Texier, Michel Portal and Julien Lourau, Z has made eight albums under his own name. Six of them were released on Label Bleu, covering a wide range of styles and formations. The first three, two quartets and his multi-ethnical project Koreni, resulted in Z’s status as the pioneer who brought Balkan influences into jazz. They were followed by his successful first solo album Solobsession and two trio albums on which he collaborated with contemporary jazz greats from the American scene.
His later works have been released on Emarcy/Universal, among which his acclaimed and award winning second piano solo album entitled Soul Shelter, released in February 2012, on which he plays both his beloved Fazioli piano and the customized fuzzy Fender Rhodes, also known as ‘xenophone’, that became one of his trademarks.
Recently Z also has been producing albums for other musicians, like Michel Portal’s Bailador (featuring Jack Dejohnette, Scott Colley and Ambrose Akinmusire) and Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin’s Amulette.
Z has a very personal sense of style, somehow always escaping classification. He harmoniously blends and twists his colourful musical baggage, ranging from his thorough classical music schooling, through Brazilian music and The Beatles to Balkan folklore, blues and jazz. Bojan Z, not afraid to wander off the beaten tracks, yet never losing his taste for melody and song form, definitely counts as one of the most remarkably individual talents of European jazz.
Anneleen Boehme (Belgium) // Double bass
Anneleen Boehme (°1989) is one of Belgium’s rare female double bass talents. She started playing the double bass at the age of 12. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (Holland) with Frans van der Hoeven and she finished her studies of Music at the Conservatory of Antwerp, summa cum laude, with Nicolas Thys, in 2015. Master classes by i.a. Hans van Oosterhout, Larry Grenadier and Pierre Vaiana influenced her composing and bass playing a lot.
Although Anneleen is best known as the double bass player in LABtrio, she also plays in bands Frie Maline, Saragon and GIZMO, and with ‘kleinkunst’ singer Mira. With Fien Desmet she composes music for theatre. She’s extremely versatile, and even that is an understatement. No wonder she’s a frequently asked bass player in the jazz scene.
Pol Belardi (Luxemburg) // Vibraphone
From the moment Pol played his first note on an instrument, sometime in the 90’s in a small town in Luxembourg called Tétange, his curiosity was awakened to create music. After extensive tutelage at local schools in classical percussion, piano, drums and theory, a fair amount of classical orchestra as well as rock band experience and a good first imprint in the local scene, he set sails to study in Brussels and Amsterdam, earning a master’s degree “cum laude” in bass guitar in 2014. He has forged himself a strong credo consisting of two main ingredients: polyvalence and creativity.
His numerous projects vary in both conception of style and the instrument(s) he plays, and since the first childhood composition try-outs (which were mainly transcribing and rearranging video-game music), he has grown to a prolific composer who is not afraid of taking advantage of his diverse musical background.
Now back in Luxembourg, in the heart of Europe, Pol leads his own bands Force (a modern jazz quartet/quintet) and Urban Voyage, an 11-piece crossover mammoth project based in Amsterdam. In addition to that, he is a member of DillenDub, a co-lead electro-groove-jazz trio.
He is also a welcomed sideman on the bass guitar for Pascal Schumacher, MetroMara (DE), Little Known Facts (NL) as well as on the vibraphone and synths for klein. and many other projects.
Willing to share his experience with studious young music lovers, Pol is teaching in local music schools, and to keep up to date on what is happening in an around Luxembourg, he regularly hosts a radio show at Radio 100,7 FM.
Kirke Karja (Estonia) // Keyboards
Kirke Karja is a rising talent on the Estonian jazz scene winning the prestigious Estonian Young Jazz Talent award in 2014. Here she helms her eponymous quartet through some mysteriously beautiful music, at times dark and uncompromising, other times introspective, but always with an intensity that is compelling. Compositionally the music is striking and it moves effortlessly between atmospheric soundscapes with a somewhat nordic feel, to fast paced polytonal interplay and inventive rhythmic sketches that demonstrate a broader range of influences from contemporary classical luminaries like Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Throughout she is ably matched in guitarist Kalle Pilli who provides another sonic dimension to the music and a driving rhythm section in bassist Martin-Eero Kõressaar and drummer Karl-Juhan Laanesaar, rounding out this quartet. It’s clear that all four are adept improvisers allowing Karja’s material to be inhabited fully, purposefully. This is music that moves insistently forward, with a strong dynamic that creates the enviable balance of tension and resolution.
Yuri Rhodenborgh (The Netherlands) // Guitar
Yuri Rhodenborgh is an aspiring musician, feeling most comfortable in genres like jazz, soul, pop, rock, hiphop and fusion. Kurt Rosenwinkel, Julian Lage, Maurice Ravel and Olivier Messiaen are some of his biggest sources of inspiration, which makes him a versatile player with a broad interest in all different types of music. Inspired by his cousin, Rhodenborgh started playing guitar at the age of 13. Quickly music became his obsession and at the age of 15 he was sure he would pursue a carreer in music. He then got two years of individual lessons from Martin Jagt, who schooled Yuri in jazz.
Directly when he finished highschool, aged 17, he got accepted at the conservatory of Tilburg and started his four year study of jazz guitar in September 2012. He finished this study in September 2016, after which he started his Masters degree. During his four year education he got taught by renowned musicians, such as Edoardo Righini, Peter Mingaars, Jeroen van Vliet, Udo Pannekeet, Rembrandt Frerichs and Tim Langedijk. At the moment his main-subject teachers are Tim Langedijk and Reinier Baas.
Mathieu Penot (France) // Drums
Mathieu Penot began playing the drums at the age of 4 years. At the age of 15, he entered the Conservatory of Reims where he studied composition and arrangement with guitarist Manu Pékar. He won the Prix de la Sacem in 2006 thanks to two compositions for the conservatoire’s big band. The same year, he joined the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris in the Jazz and Improvised Music department under the direction of Riccardo Del Fra: he won his prize in 2010.
He obviously played in many formations. Among the most recent, the group of clarinetist Yom, the project of Sylvain Daniel « Palimpseste » on an imaginary journey in the ruins of Detroit, the Belgian singer David Linx. In the trio of pianist Armel Dupas, he is laureate of Jazz Migration, which has allowed him to perform in many festivals in France and Europe.