Jeanfrançois Prins
© Jean-Luc Goffinet

Jeanfrançois Prins

“A real voice on the guitar with a warmth that’s all his own.” JOE LOVANO
“Jeanfrançois Prins plays directly from the heart…” FRED HERSCH
“There is a great Jazz Guitar tradition in Belgium, represented successively by Django Reinhardt, René Thomas, Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, and now by Jeanfrançois Prins.” KNACK – DE MORGEN

Jeanfrançois Prins has become Belgium's most international jazz guitarist. A sought-after leader, accompanist and guest soloist, having spent most of his career between New York City and Berlin, Jeanfrançois recently moved back to his roots: Brussels, where he also took over the family’s label, GAM Records. He shares his poetic and passionate music on a daily basis in new endeavors, collaborating with vocalists and instrumentalists alike.
He enjoys risk-taking improvisation and organic interaction. His lyrical fusion of romance and hard-swinging guitar is influenced by his encounters with World Music, Latin Jazz, French Chanson, Contemporary Classical music, Avant-Garde and Pop.

Jeanfrançois Prins is a melodic storyteller. His vocabulary runs the gamut of jazz guitar. He has an immediately recognizable sound and style, one where melody is what counts, however relaxed or adventurous the context may be.

Son of record-store owners, grand-son of a jazz producer (Django Reinhard recordings in 1942 among many others), Jeanfrançois Prins has spent his adult life as a professional musician, composer, arranger and producer - performing, recording and collaborating with many of today’s Jazz giants. He has been teaching private instrument lessons and classes in Berlin’s Music Universities, where he lead the Jazz Guitar Departments for several years, and at the ARTEZ Jazz University in Enschede, Holland for a year. He gives workshops and master-classes internationally, communicating with enthusiasm his passion for this expansive music to the next generations of players. 

Jeanfrançois has several current projects as a leader. With his “Blue Note Mode”, he pays tribute to the sophisticated, yet deeply blues and groove-imbued ‘60s years of the legendary label, with a 21st century outlook. His “Rio de Jazzeiro” is his love declaration to Brazilian music. “All Strings Attached” features his trio plus a classical string quartet, performing his original compositions and arrangements. “Colliding Universes” is a 6tet which features 2 tenor saxophones, a fluegelhorn, bass and drums. “Blade Runner” features his arrangements and compositions in the thrilling atmosphere of a contemporary “film noir”, with cello and a groovy quartet with Rhodes and electronics. Other personal projects include “Wayne, Monk, & moi”, “Road Movie”, and “Tribute to Jazz Guitar Masters”. He also co-leads a 4tet with american saxophonist Andy Middleton, as well as a Belgian All Stars quintet “Tribute to Miles Davis” with trumpeter Richard Rousselet. 
He has toured Europe in late 2014, and early 2015 with saxophonist Ulli Jünemann’s NYC quartet feat. master bassist Jay Anderson, and drummers extraordinaire Adam Nussbaum and Gene Jackson.
Jeanfrançois has released 7 CDs as a leader so far (8th album coming up!). One can hear him as a guest soloist or sideman on more than 50 other CDs.

Jeanfrançois Prins’ compositions and songs are often performed and recorded, not only by his own bands, but by several other European and American musicians. Jeanfrançois also writes original music for movie soundtracks as well as television (for example for the Discovery Channel in 2000, and the short-film “Coriolis” in 2008).

Jeanfrançois was recently commissioned by O’Celli, a belgian cello octet to compose, arrange, and then perform several pieces with them.

As a guitarist, Jeanfrançois Prins has performed/recorded as a leader and/or as a sideman with such artists as Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Judy Niemack, Kenny Wheeler, Benny Golson, Bud Shank, Lew Tabackin, Gary Bartz, Jaleel Shaw, Andy Middleton, Gary Foster, John Ruocco, Bill Evans, Julian Priester, Jiggs Whigham, Randy Brecker, Gerard Presencer, Tim Hagans, Till Brönner, Clark Terry, Jim Mc Neely, Kirk Lightsey, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Michel Herr, Walter Norris, Mal Waldron, Stephen Scott, Danny Grissett, Kelvin Sholar, Alan Broadbent, Dan Tepfer, Maria Palatine, Mike Richmond, Eddie Gomez, Putter Smith, Jay Anderson, Scott Colley, Rufus Reid, Hein Van de Geyn, Ricardo del Fra, Ratzo Harris, Cameron Brown, Steve Rodby, Bruno Castellucci, Adam Nussbaum, Joe La Barbera, Jerry Granelli, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, John Betsch, Al “Tootie” Heath, Gene Jackson, John Riley, Café, Luis Ribeiro, Pandit Sankha Chatterjee, William Galison, Quincy Jones, Peter Herbolzheimer, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Norma Winstone, Darmon Meader, Theo Bleckmann, Bob Dorrough, Sarah Lancman, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, Erwin Schrott, Beethova Obas, Lisa Werlinder, Ivan Lins, the New York Voices, Patti Austin, … in Europe, the U.S.A., Asia and South America.

Jeanfrançois Prins is featured in the book “The Great Jazz Guitarists – The Ultimate Guide” (Scott Yanow © 2013)


1. As a leader/co-leader:

1. Jeanfrançois Prins Quintet "N.Y. Stories" GAM 911
Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, Erwin Vann tenor, soprano sax, Nathalie Loriers piano, Jean-Louis 
Baudoin bass, Félix Simtaine drums

2. Jeanfrançois Prins + guests Judy Niemack & Fred Hersch "Beauty & the Prince" AMC 50.044
 Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, Judy Niemack vocals, Fred Hersch piano, Hein van de Geyn bass, 
Bruno Castellucci drums

3. Lee Konitz & Jeanfrançois Prins Trio "Live" GAM 915
 Lee Konitz alto sax, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, Salvatore La Rocca bass, Bruno Castellucci drums

4. Jeanfrançois Prins + guest Lee Konitz "All Around Town" TCB 99402
 Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, Mike Richmond bass, Adam Nussbaum drums + guest Lee Konitz alto, 
soprano sax,

5. Steve Davis – Jeanfrançois Prins "Light" GAM 918
 Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, Larry Kohut bass, Steve Davis drums

6. Jeanfrançois Prins "El Gaucho" CHALLENGE RECORDS CR73337
 Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, vocals, Rich Perry tenor sax, Joris Teepe bass, Victor Lewis drums

7. Loos/Prins/Walnier "Après un Rêve" GAM 920
 Charles Loos piano, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, Sébastien Walnier cello

8. Jeanfrançois Prins “Blue Note Mode" GAM RECORDS (to be released on March 1st 2024!) GAM 925
 Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, vocals, Danny Grissett piano, Jay Anderson bass, E.J. Strickland drums,
             plus guests Jaleel Shaw alto sax, and Jeremy Pelt trumpet

2. As a guest soloist/arranger/producer/sideman (selected):

- Michel Herr "Just Friends" Soundtrack AMC 50047
Archie Shepp tenor sax, Sylvia Droste vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, Phil Abraham trombone, Gino Latucca trumpet, flugelhorn, Michel Herr piano, Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, Philippe Aerts bass, …

- Judy Niemack "About Time" SONY JAZZ 509824-2
Judy Niemack vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, producer, arranger, Lee Konitz alto sax, Eddie Gomez bass, Café percussion, David Friedman vibes

- Mary Kay + guest Toots Thielemans "Make Someone Happy" GAM 912
Mary Kay vocals, Toots Thielemans chromatic harmonica, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, producer, arranger, Nathalie Loriers piano, Jean Warland bass, Dré Pallemaerts drums

- Lee Konitz "Rhapsody" vol. 1 & 2 Paddle Wheel Records KICJ 172 & 210
Lee Konitz alto sax, soprano sax, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, Gary Peacock bass, Jimmy Giuffre clarinet, Paul Bley, Peggy Stern piano, Clark Terry trumpet, Gerry Mulligan baritone sax, Judy Niemack, Jay Clayton, Helen Merrill vocals, …

- Shigeko Suzuki "Première" NOVUS BVCP 870 BMG Japan
Shigeko Suzuki vocals, Kenny Werner piano, producer, arranger, Vic Juris, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, Toots Thielemans chromatic harmonica, Jay Anderson bass, John Riley drums, Mark Feldman violin, Erik Friedlander cello, Billy Drewes tenor sax, …

- Darmon Meader "And So Am I" DDAI 168-2
Darmon Meader vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, David Finck bass, Quincy Davis drums, Andy Ezrin piano, Jay Ashby trombone, …

- Judy Niemack "Blue Nights" BLUJAZZ 3353
Judy Niemack vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, producer, arranger, Gary Bartz alto, soprano sax, Don Sickler trumpet, flugelhorn, Jim McNeely piano, Dennis Irwin bass, Victor Lewis drums

- Ulli Jünemann Quartet "Boo Hoo" NABEL RECORDS 4717-2
 Ulli Jünemann alto sax, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, Jay Anderson bass, Adam Nussbaum drums

- Judy Niemack “In the Sundance" BLUJAZZ 3374
Judy Niemack vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, producer, arranger, Bruce Barth piano, Rufus Reid bass, Bruno Castellucci drums

- Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky "Ornette Et Cetera" Jazz Werkstatt jw115
Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky alto sax, Uschi Brüning vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, 
Michael Griener drums

- Lisa Werlinder "Ett Minne Blått" AMIGO 937D 
Lisa Werlinder vocals, alto sax, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, co-producer, arranger, Magnus Lindgren tenor sax, Peter Asplund trumpet, flugelhorn, Jan Lungren piano, Patrick Boman bass, …

- Walter Norris "Elements 'n Motion" SUNBURST RECORDINGS SRCD 2002-2
Walter Norris piano, Putter Smith bass, Jeanfrançois Prins producer

- Maria Palatine "My Voice is My Plea" GAM RECORDS GAM 1701
Maria Palatine harp, vocals, piano, keyboards, Jeanfrançois Prins guitars, drums programming, keyboards, backup vocals, producer, Anne-Sophie Prins backup vocals, Stefan Engelmann, André Klenes bass, Bodek Janke percussion, Richard Rousselet flugelhorn, Sébastien Walnier cello, Vardan Hovanissian duduk

- Berlin Jazz Orchestra “Songs of Berlin" GAM RECORDS GAM 921
 Berlin Jazz Orchestra feat. Jonas Schön alto sax, Marc Secara vocals, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, …

- Putter Smith "Desert Passes" (to be released)
 Matt Otto tenor sax, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, Putter Smith bass, David Hocker drums

- Stéphane Mercier Belgian Jazz All Stars “Mixology live" GAM RECORDS GAM 923
 Stéphane Mercier alto sax, David Linx vocals, Charles Loos piano, Jeanfrançois Prins guitar, …

About Jeanfrançois Prins

“Aaaahhh! Jazz Guitar exists!”

 “ ... his taste and technique are impeccable...” Toots Thielemans

"...suavely and bluesy...Recommended to guitar enthusiasts, and worth
a listen to those who enjoy contemporary mainstream with heart". CADENCE

"...the real instrumental star of the C.D. is guitarist Jeanfrançois PRINS, who is very
sensitive on ballads and can bend notes like John SCOFIELD on fast numbers". CADENCE

"...growing personality and maturity of guitarist Jeanfrançois PRINS who also reveals himself
as an inspired composer...he is an acting personality of the modern mainstream "à la Belge" JAZZ IN TIME

"... brilliant Jeanfrançois PRINS, full of energy, agility, lyrical strength ... very personal warmth of his playing ... Jeanfrançois : no doubt, the time is NOW ..." BALADES EN C.D.

 “...there can be no doubt that this truly creative and musical young man will continue to be heard from. But don’t wait for his next record - catch him live!” Dan Morgenstern, DOWNBEAT

 “...Congratulations, Jeanfrançois. First-class guitar playing.” Steve Swallow

“Jeanfrançois Prins has good taste. One can hear it immediately... relaxedness is his strong point, as well as space...he is definitely an important member of this new Mainstream in post-Bop guitar playing.” JAZZMAN

 “...Prins is exceptionally eloquent and expressive...” JAZZ TIMES

 “Concept albums are difficult projects, but guitarist Jeanfrancois Prins' trio pulls off a fine tribute to the Big Apple on this surprisingly laid back recording. Prins has produced a whale of an album, one that gently uplifts and caresses.” Steve Loewy, ALL MUSIC GUIDE

 “Jeanfrançois Prins’ music has substance, subtlety and wisdom way beyond his years, he is a profoundly gifted artist whose contribution is important and worthy of wider recognition” Eddie Gomez

 “Jeanfrançois Prins is a sensitive, original and interactive player, who understands the roots of Jazz, and yet has a modern outlook” Kenny Werner

 “Jeanfrançois Prins, a well-traveled Belgian guitarist, is a melodic storyteller; his brisk and literate style interacts nicely with his bandmates here, the bassist Cameron Brown and the drummer Victor Lewis.” NEW YORK TIMES

"Want to hear a real jazz guitarist?  Then JF is your man.
There's a completely refreshing clarity of sound and ideas here!" Marc Copland

 “Jeanfrançois Prins. Wow! The only thing I find missing on this whole album is... me! I like it, I like it! I just love the fact that you love Wayne Shorter, and you love my old friend Rich Perry. He sounds so good, and you just sound fantastic! One term comes to mind for your new El Gaucho project: Quiet Fire”. Kirk Lightsey

"Hello JF. Man, your CD is really swingin'! Great playing!+ great tunes 
(and crooning too! - really liked that..). Thanks!" Randy Brecker

"Jeanfrançois Prins plays directly from the heart – every note means something and nothing is wasted.  His considerable technique is always in service of the music.  His repertoire choices are varied and distinctive and this CD has a wonderful arc to it.  In addition, he has surrounded himself with musicians who are very sympatico.
He is truly a guitar player’s guitar player." Fred Hersch

"This is jazz from today which does not forget anything about its roots and transforms them 
with a sleek elegance." Jean-Claude Vantroyen – MAD LE SOIR

" Prins' solos testify to absolute soulmateship" Hans-Bernd Kittlaus – JAZZ PODIUM

"A guitar whose strings are gently conversing like the freshly oiled vocal cords of a singer"   
         Josef Köhne – HOLZHAUSEN

"From the very beginning, with Jeanfrançois Prins' composition "Trauerfarben Fünf", one is launched into a music which doesn't fit neatly into the jazz canons, neither classical, nor world music. One is elsewhere, in a lyrical landscape, intriguing and beautiful... One stays in a serene garden, sensual, almost voluptuous"   
Jean-Claude Vantroyen – MAD LE SOIR