Did you know that Belgium is also known for jazz?
If you think you can only find jazz temples in New York, think again, we have some great ones here! And for good reason, as Belgium played an important role in the development of this musical genre, as the cradle of the saxophone (1846, Adolphe Sax). From Liège to Brussels to Antwerp, let's discover the places that continue to keep jazz alive.
Our adventure can start in Brussels, in an establishment well known to jazz lovers: the Sounds Jazz Club (Ixelles). With its warm atmosphere, music, cocktails, ... you'd think you were in New Orleans or Chicago, and yet the jazz club is nestled in the Matonge district, in Ixelles. It prides itself on offering the best of jazz since 1986. Another unmissable venue in the capital is the Jazz Station (Saint Josse), an old renovated train station. An exceptional building built over the tracks, it is one of the few stations built on a footbridge in Belgium. With its iconic red brick façade and its breath-taking view of the tracks, the jazz station not only offers jazz concerts, but also transforms itself into an artists' residence (exhibitions, festivals, courses and conferences).
In Wallonia, the unusual Jacques Pelzer club (Liège) is located in the former pharmacy of the saxophonist of the same name. This club pays permanent tribute to the saxophonist who is known for having played alongside great Belgian (Toots Thielemans, Francy Boland, Benoît Quersin, etc.) and American jazzmen.
Flanders is not to be outdone, as De Muze is one of the most legendary cafés in Antwerp. Since it opened in 1964, this building, which is worth a visit in itself, has gained recognition among Antwerp artists and hosted many unforgettable concerts. Today, it has retained its old-fashioned atmosphere, with a strong vintage character that intrigues visitors.
Jazz also has its own festivals. One of the oldest in Belgium is the Jazz & Blues Festival in Gouvy, which takes place in the jazz club of the Madelonne farm in the province of Luxembourg. Many great musicians in the history of jazz have given this festival an international dimension. Ghent also hosts its summer jazz festival on the wonderful Bijloke site, where international stars and talented young performers meet to delight festival-goers. At the end of May, it's back to Brussels for the Brussels Jazz Weekend, the biggest jazz festival in Europe; the circle is complete!