Gent Jazz: Kamaal Williams + Mulatu Astatke + MDC III + more

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Exclusive concerts in well thought-out day programs that appeal to a broad audience. Gent Jazz sets the bar high for quality: they strive for the ultimate sound balance, an atmospheric and cosy layout of the site, food that is finger-licking good and perfectly served drinks in the bars. 

Join in on day 2 with Kamaal Williams, Mulatu Astatke, MDC III & more!

Kamaal Williams

What does London sound like in the year 2023? What sounds characterise a city where dozens of cultures combine and many musical scenes, both old and new, clash? Can you break this down and convert it into sounds? Kamaal Williams (born Henry Wu) has been doing his best to realise this feat for over 15 years. As a result of his Taiwanese roots, the Londoner was exposed, in heart and soul, to the diversity of the city from a young age, and learnt to appreciate the inherent value of these many cultures. From his father, he learnt to recognise jazz and, as a young pupil, he picked up drums and percussion in the orchestra. As a teenager, he immersed himself in the rich electronic underground scene in the British capital city and, when he began studying musical production and piano at university, his goal became clear; he was committed to adding a hefty dose of innovation to 'elite jazz’.

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Mulatu Astatke

The father of Ethio-jazz - the talented multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke - might well be approaching his eighties but he never thinks about stopping. Proof of this can be found at Gent Jazz. This year, the Ethiopian is celebrating his sixtieth year as a professional musician and his career is worth a mention, to say the very least. As a teenager, Astatke was sent to London to study engineering but, once he had settled in, the confident Astatke decided to switch to musical studies at London's Trinity College. Once he graduated, he took a further step and left for America. He was the first Ethiopian student at the renowned Berkeley College, where he graduated in vibraphone and percussion. He was inspired by Latin jazz and recorded his first two albums in New York.

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If you ask the Ghent-based multi-instrumentalist Mattias De Craene what is one of the most important turning points in the history of jazz for him, he is likely to respond with "the moment John Coltrane and Rashied Ali recorded Interstellar Space”. The record - taken in one take and totally improvised - breathes freedom. The result achieved with only sax and drum continues to capture the imagination even now. The same can also be said for De Craene who, with MDCIII a few years ago, added a new project to his impressive universe. Inspired by Coltrane’s historic orchestration choice but with a firm dash of ambitious individuality. How? He doesn't do it with one but two drummers - Simon Segers and Lennert Jacobs - and broadens the possibilities by adding electronics to his instruments.

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