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Kris Defoort

Kris Defoort

Renowned jazz pianist and headstrong composer
of music in which jazz improvisation, contemporary classical and ancient music coalesce, resulting in a genuine osmosis between
these various genres.

"I feel my roots are in jazz. I’m an improviser first and foremost. However, already as a youngster I performed in the world of classical music as well and that sound idiom has always been present in my musical thinking."… Doesn’t his improvising reflex-like self play a certain role when he sits down to compose? "Yes, absolutely. But with improvising it’s a matter of seconds and minutes, while composing for me means improvising in slow motion."… "The time is ripe, I feel, for a genuine osmosis between the genres, instead of overlapping or mere collage, as happens so often. For the first time I feel one single language emer-ging. Movements are less and less demarcated in the contemporary world of music. There is a great openness for intuition, and more and more liberties are taken with stylistic features and schools… A true cross-pollination ought to be able to sensitive people for all those different aspects of music, within that encompassing musical language, not only for the little piece they recognize in a collage, appreciating it already as such. " (from interviews with Rudy Tambuyser, De Morgen)

Bruges native Kris Defoort (born 1959) took his first steps into the world of jazz way on the other side of the country, at the conservatory of Liège, to be precise, where iconic figures such as Henry Pousseur and Philip Boesman brightened the place up. This certainly got his creative juices flowing, not only in his jazz excursions but also in his approach to contemporary classical music. Defoort knew in his heart and soul that he was a composer and nothing else, however, after graduating, he left for New York wanting to experience the “real” jazz scene as a pianist. It was an exciting and enriching time and when he returned he launched KD’s Basement Party, laid the foundations for Octurn and reworked Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” with Fabrizio Cassol. Later, his strength as a composer was perceived especially with his impressive operas “The Woman Who Walked into Doors” and "The House of the Sleeping Beauties". The adventure in jazz will, however, never loosen its hold over him and he continues working with his international quartet Sound Plaza and his trio.

In 2012 Kris Defoort simultaneously released three albums at the W.E.R.F. label: Kris Defoort trio Live in Bruges, Kris Defoort solo piano Live in Tokyo, and New Sound Plaza, a new version of his quartet with Mark Turner, Nicolas Thys and Jim Black. In the same year Kris Defoort also won the Sabam Jazz Award in the category "established value" and the prestigious Jazzmozaïek Award 2012 for his triple CD releases, for the creation of a new jazz trio with young talents and for the ability to integrate classical music with jazz.

Flanders Arts Institute

Expertise centre for performing arts, music and visual arts.