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book review

Jos L. Knaepen :: Jazz in Belgium
by Ron Sagye La Rue

Jazz in Belgium is just what the title states,photographer Jos L. Knaepen has compiled a collection of his black and white photographs into a wonderful little book. Most of the artists may be unknown to you if your not familiar with the Belgium scene. But three should ring a bell(musically) Jean "toots Thielemans,harmonica/guitarist who has been internationally famous for years.And Composer of the classic "Bluesette";Philip Catherine guitarist,recorded with Kenny Drew and other known musicians. Fats Sadi a vibraphonist whose recorded and or played with many internationally known artist since the 1940's.

People like Don Byas,Bobby Jaspar(great Belgium flute/tenorman) Django etc. Fats even led a Blue Note date in the 1950's. Personally I didn't knowhe was still active in music--it was refreshing to see his presence on page 96-98. Part of being an excellent is "knowing" when to press the shutter button! Knaepen knows when to perform this function! Whether capturing tenor saxophonist Johan Vandendriessche(page 67)obviously engrossed in performance or guitarist(page 73)Jo Mahieu in a pensive thinking mood;Knaepen is there for the moment.

The image of Myriam Alter(page 80)reminds this reviewer of the American actress Jane Fonda.though you can't tell what instrument she uses for music! What's particularly interesting about many images in this book is the use of shadows and Rembrandt lighting. This is shown to good effect on trumpeter Sam Vloemans(page 104)also note the light on the trumpets tubing superb! On pages 46&47 the graininess of the image of pianist Ewout Pierreux face,piano hammers, and strings creates texture and mood and isn't at all unflattering but artistic. Another interesting image is of guitarist, Hinderik Braeckman (on page 54)the hatchet lighting on his face (left side dark,right lighter)and the light illuminating the top of his fingers on the fretboard of the guitar is of interest. If you look at the photograph from arms-length it makes you focus on the left hand fingers almost exclusively! I'd like to see that one in 8x10! This 109 page book of jazz images is a gem.

published 26.04.2005 2005 jazz news :: home page

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