Igloo Records: 30 Years of Starting Again in European Jazz

For 30 years already, the jazz label Igloo has been providing a platform for new talent in European jazz, notably Philip Catherine, Eric Legnini Steve Houben and Nathalie Loriers. For its 30th anniversary, the label is continuing to focus on new talent, despite a difficult environment for the music industry. In 1978, jazz aficionados in Brussels decided to pool their resources to record some of the new music that was being produced. With no possibility of major releases, they set up their own label with a grant and organised distribution. The goal was not to recreate a giant corporation but to reflect the music of its time.

Early releases on Igloo include Chet Baker and guitarist Philip Catherine. But more than anything else, the label has provided a platform for young musicians from jazz and contemporary music. Over the years, it has had the privilege of releasing first albums from pianists Eric Legnini and Nathale Loriers, the vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher and Melanie De Biasio. "This is the primary role of Igloo, " explains company president Daniel Léon. "Providing a platform for future talent is what we do."
Providing a platform for future talent is what we do.

For small labels such as Igloo, the changes of the past few years have transformed the scene dramatically. Artists can now record and press their own material, but distribution and promotion remain time-consuming tasks that make the difference. "We partner with festivals and other bodies and enable distribution and licensing abroad." Online distribution and promotion through MySpace and extend the label's reach.

The 30th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate. In addition to running promotions on a range of its large catalogue, Igloo is also organising a special concert on November 28 in Brussels. Typically, this will showcase the new signings rather than established acts. These include Mathilde Renault, the Greg Houben Trio (son of sax player Steve Houben), Cécile Broché & Etienne Bouyer, Pascal Mohy Trio, Eve Beuvens Trio and the aptly-named Thomas Champagne Trio.

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