Jef Neve Trio
@ the Pizza Express Jazz Club
Photography 22 November 2008 & 22 November 2007
Click an image to enlarge.
Jef Neve was born in Belgium on March 8, 1977. He studied at the
Lemmensinstituut in Louvain, and took master classes with Guy de
Mey, Brad Mehldau, Martial Solal, Lew Tabackin, Toots Thielemans,
Billy Hart, Bill Carothers, Kenny Werner and Bruce Barth. In 2000
Neve graduated with Master of Music degrees in Jazz and classical
piano, both with great distinction. In 2001 he specialised in Chamber
Music and was awarded 'cum laude'.
Next to his musical education, Neve started to play in local bands
at the age of fourteen. He composed a wide variety of pieces for
the most divergent ensembles (from piano solo to symphonic orchestra).
From seventeen-twenty he played with the popular funk band Mr. Zebedee.
As a freelance pianist Neve performed with various jazz bands,
classical ensembles and pop bands including Belgian boy band f.ex.
Get Ready. Neve also performed in theatre productions, studio sessions
and solo performances with the Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted
by Michel Tilkin). As a jazz musician he worked with Dré
Pallemaerts, Paolo Fresu and Lindsey Horner.
In 2002 Neve worked for a year as a pianist and composer for the
Contemporary Dathe Dance Company in London. In 2003 his debut album
“Blue Saga” was released on the Contour label to critical
Neve’s second album “It’s Gone” (Contour,
November 2004) is Belgium’s best selling jazz album to date.
“It’s Gone” received the prestigious Radio Klara
prize for Best International Jazz Album in 2005. Neve signed with
Universal Music Belgium and released his third album; “Nobody
is Illegal in November 2006.
In 2005/6 the Jef Neve Trio performed a large number of concerts
and several international festivals including Athens International
Jazz, Blue Note Festival, Festival van Vlaanderen, Middelheim Jazz,
Jazz à Liège, Audi Jazz Festival, Mexico Eurojazz
festival and the Wiltz International Festival.
Parallel to his fast growing activity as jazz artist, Jef Neve prepared
the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach during the year 2005, which
he has performed several times in the spring of 2006 and 2007. Neve
also wrote the soundtrack for the movie “Dagen Zonder Lief”,
which was released March 2007.
Jef Neve Trio – Nobody is illegal album review
The intriguingly titled “Nobody is illegal” CD dropped
on my faded welcome mat during a treasured vinyl listening session.
Many of the CD’s I had received in the last few days were
now resting precariously on the edge of my ‘soon to be explored
pile’. My initial response to this newcomer was to browse
the CD cover images, pop it in the player, speed check each track,
then resume my vinyl listening session. That was the plan anyway…
Track 1 – “Airplane” is a delicately woven two
minute and fifteen second gem. I realised that my initial plan was
now no longer a viable option. This album deserved immediate, and
closer scrutiny. Skipping tracks prematurely would be a sin.
Track 2 - “Nothing But A Casablanca Turtle Slideshow Dinner”
is as dramatic as its title suggests. First impressions from Neve’s
opening notes also suggest he is teaching us a unique form of piano
scale structure. But just as your fingers begin to tap the air in
an attempt to mimic his moves, Neve, trio and friends add to the
mix leaving your fingers lost.
Neve and co has it all covered here. Delicate intimacy and warmth,
juxtaposed with the urgency of an express train, and all knitted
together with the precision of a plastic surgeons knife. The inclusion
of wind instruments (horn, trombone, tuba and sax) on many tracks
just stop short of transforming this trio project into a big band
Be prepared to ride the many waves of “Nobody is illegal”,
and expect the unexpected from the Jef Neve Trio. Future releases
from Jef Neve are more than welcome on my mat. (Even during my treasured
vinyl listening sessions).
Jef Neve – piano, Piet Verbist - double bass
Teun Verbruggen – drums, Hans Verhulst –horn
Simon Haspeslag – horn, Frederik Heirman – tenor trombone
Nicolas – Kummert – tenor saxophone, Pieter Kindt –
Berlinde Deman – tuba
Album review -14 April 2007
© Michael Valentine Studio