Chat with … the Jazz pianist and student Hendrik Lasure from Brugge


A chance to catch up with a cross section of the best European Jazz musicians – that is Jazz Brugge. It was the opportunity for me to meet Hendrik Lasure who was due to play his own compositions joined by two young fellow musicians on bass and drums. We were sitting at the cafe inside the Concertgebouw and I first asked Hendrik what Jazz means to him. He was quite straight in his answer: „Freedom!“ I was curious to understand how Hendrik's career started. He said: „I heard Dizzy Gillespie's „On the sunny side of the street“ and then I was studying classical piano at the age of 8 or 9. I knew immediately I was going to study Jazz because I heard the freedom and the momentness of it.“ I continued the chat and asked if freedom means Free Jazz. „No, freedom means that if you play one day a tune and the next day you play the same tune it does not sound the same. Every time I sit behind my piano things can be created that never been created before.“

Question: „If you play Jazz do you play it quite structured? Or do you follow your inspirations and get in a mood of jaming?“ – His answer: „There is always a kind of base for the compositions of mine but I give a lot of room for improvisations. Maybe my composition consists of 50 notes and with that information I try to improvise with my Trio and find new things. That is part of the fun playing Jazz.“

A common question in Jazz is about the source for new tunes. Are the tunes first or images or chords or …? - „The inspiration does not come from music itself. When I watch TV the whole day and then I sit behind my piano. I am not inspired at all. But when I read a book I am really inspired or if I go for a run. Most of my compositions I wrote this year were done when I had finished a run. Running makes my head really empty because you hear only your heart beat whilst running. Then I sit down and the music comes out of the air.“ - „Do you think there is any relation for you between images in your head and music?“ - „Sometimes I have, mostly they consists of my memories. The titles of my compositions are always linked to the sounds of the various music pieces or how it was created. It is not that in a way the composing first but the title. In autumn last year I wrote a suite called „Transitions“. There are parts in it which depict the clouds coming out of your mouth when you breathe and it is cold. It is just this image and feeling I try to transfer to notes and chords. Mostly the title is there first and then the composing starts.“

Jazz is in flow: There is Acid Jazz and Nu Jazz, there is a cross over to other genres. What does that mean to you? - „I do not like to think about the subgenres and genres. I think if you really want to make music you want to develop your own characteristics. The most important part is not to think in terms of genres but to take in the influences of your environments. Do not think how you want to sound. You sound like you want to sound. Sometimes there is a cross-over but I never start my music by planning to do a cross-over between Jazz and Hip-Hop for instance.“

From its origin Jazz is American music but there is as well European Jazz that seems quite different: „When you listen to European Jazz the classical Jazz background is less notable whereas in contemporary American Jazz you can hear that the musicians all studied Bebop. If you listen to ECM recordings the music has more to do with classical music but that is quite a bit of generalisation.“ - „Does that mean contemporary Jazz is the classical music of our times?“ - „No, there is a huge difference in the concept of Jazz in comparison to classical music. Jazz relates to the moment and classical music forces musicians to play the written down chords and not to play what is in their minds to play.“

Jazz seems to attract more and more young musicians but in the audience there are mostly members of the greying society: „Like my friends from school they always want to listen to very up-to-date music. If a song is three weeks old it is already outdated. Members of my generation believe that Jazz is old and do not understand that it is always new because it is created in just that moment. They do not take the time to listen to Jazz and that is the problem.”

In the 30s, 40s and 50s Jazz was dancefloor music and pop music of that time. But it seems that this aspect is missing today. Jazz lost its links to dancing and therefore it is not appealing to young people: „No, not in general. There is a young Jazz band called „Bad Bad Not Good“ and they play Jazz with a touch of House and Hip-Hop. Young lads love to dance to that type of music.“

NestorMartin4DSC04430Hendrik with Nestor Martin

Jazz Brugge is the only festival entirely dedicated to European Jazz and I wanted to know what Hendrik thinks of the concept: „It is a nice collection of the Jazz scene in Europe. If you want to listen to Jazz from Europe you have to visit Brugge every two years.“

Interview: Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther
Fotos: Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther


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Special thanks to our photographers:

Henning Bolte
Cedric Craps
Christian Deblanc

Koen Deleu

Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther
Anne Fishburn

Stefe Jiroflée
Jos L. Knaepen
Jacky Lepage

Nina Contini Melis
Arnold Reyngoudt
Willy Schuyten
Frank Tafuri
Jean-Pierre Tillaert
Guy van de Poel
Cees van de Ven
Marie-Anne Ver Eecke

Jan Vernieuwe

and to our writers:


Henning Bolte
Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther
Paul Godderis
Jean-Pierre Goffin
Claude Loxhay
Herman te Loo
Iwein Van Malderen