Hot Club Gent

Hot Club Gent

  • Address : Schuddevisstraatje 2, 9000 Gand, Belgique

At the end of a very discreet and narrow cul-de-sac in Ghent, a rustic pub with large exposed bricks and a staircase is hidden. This is where the Ghent Hot Club has been based since the summer of 2005.

David De Rudder and Waso Decauter came up with the idea of organising free jazz concerts in this delightfully friendly and intimate place (seating for 50 people at the most). The success of the event was immediate. Young and old, students, tourists, jazz scholars or simple amateurs now meet there. And despite this very mixed audience, Waso has managed to impose silence and attentive listening during the concerts. It's only natural that musicians, well-known and lesser-known, should flock to the club. Little by little, the club has built up a fine reputation by stubbornly promoting live music and acting as a springboard.

It all started with the Sunday night jam sessions. These are still going strong, and are currently being performed by the young guitarist Bart Vervaeck in a hard bop or gypsy swing vein. But although the Ghent Hot Club refers to its illustrious French namesake created in the 1930s, it does not confine itself to a single genre and instead cultivates openness and musical adventure.

Every Tuesday, the club invites current or avant-garde jazz to its premises, with confirmed jazzmen such as Ben Sluijs, Peer Baierlein, Jef Neve, Robin Verheyen, but also Andrew d'Angelo, Malcolm Braff and Ziv Ravitz.

While on Mondays the club opens its stage to young talent and students from the conservatory, on Wednesdays it plays the free jazz and improvisation card. On those evenings, trumpeter Bart Maris is in charge. In other words, the evening is conducive to all kinds of experimentation. On Thursday evenings, it's blues, chanson, swing or gypsy jazz that makes the walls vibrate late into the night and Stochelo Rosenberg, Rony Verbiest or Tcha Limberger have been guilty of this more than once.

The bar is friendly and the welcome is very relaxed. The concerts are totally acoustic and you are as close as possible to the musicians... and therefore to the jazz. So, don't hesitate to look for the entrance to the Hot Club of Ghent the next time you visit between the towers of Ghent, you're likely to discover some great things there.

(Jacques Prouvost, Jazz In Belgium #65, January 2009)

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