After her duo record with Bill Frisell in 2018 (Live at Jazz Middelheim) – which was re-released in September 2023 – Chantal Acda was brooding on an even more extensive, international project

Last December, Belgian singer songwriter Chantal Acda travelled to New York to record an album with Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan, Shahzad IsmailyColin Stetson, Jozef Dumoulin, Niels Van Heertum, Kurt Van Herck, Eric Thielemans and Joachim Badenhorst. As ever, what came out of this get-together between friends is this intimate and heartbreakingly overwhelming music that captivates you and won’t let go.

“The album is a dance between Bill, Thomas, Shahzad, Colin and me. I stepped away from any instrument and let them reform my songs. We connected magically, deeply and with so much understanding and listening. Working with these world-class musicians was just stunning. A deeply heartfelt conversation.”
– Chantal Acda

Bill Frisell

“Wonderful things do happen. If we can be quiet, and listen, trust one another, open up, allow ourselves and those around us to be vulnerable, make a mistake, no judgement, no preconceptions, help one another. Just listen. Wonderful things happen. Music is a miracle. Thank you, Chantal. Love. Bill”

Shahzad Ismaily

“I pulled myself out of misery to be with kind friends.  How am I this lucky to have people stay close even as I am so far. Terror strikes. Quiet yourself.  Hold your eyes from shaking/from wandering. Listen to her voice. Follow it and dance with it. Be peaceful and open your heart. Slowly. Softly. Be unafraid to weep alone.”

Thomas Morgan

“It felt really natural and comfortable from the start playing with everyone. Chantal’s songs are beautiful, and they create a sustained mood which was very happy to be a part of. And the sonic quality of the recording helped make it exciting to listen to playbacks. There was a lot of humor too, making it a fun couple of days. It’s hard to do justice in words to the connections that happen when playing music, but this felt like something really extraordinary and special, and I hope it’s only the beginning.”

This project will be performed live by an impressive sextet: Chantal Acda, Eric Thielemans, Shahzad Ismaily, Thomas Morgan, Kevin Hays and Frans Van Isacker.

Shahzad Ismaily is a largely self-taught composer and musician, having mastered the electric and double bass, guitar, banjo, accordion, flute, drums, various percussion instruments and various analog synthesizers and drum machines. Ismaily has recorded or performed with an incredibly diverse assemblage of musicians, including Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, Laura Veirs, Bonnie Prince Billy and Marc Ribot.

A fantastic virtuoso on saxophone. Frans Van Isacker is a welcome sight in the Belgian improvisation and jazz scene. His sensitivity in playing is quite mindblowing.

Thomas Morgan began playing the cello 7 years of age, before switching to upright-bass at 14. In 2003 he received his bachelor’s degree in Music from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Harvie Swartz and Garry Diall. He also took lessons with Ray Brown and Peter Herbert. Morgan worked with David Binney, Steve Coleman, Joey Baron, Josh Roseman, Brad Shepik, Steve Cardenas, Timuçin Şahin, Kenny Wollesen, Gerald Cleaver, Adam Rogers and Kenny Werner throughout his career. He is also cooperating with Jakob Bro, Dan Tepfer, Jim Black, John Abercrombie, Masabumi Kikuchi and the Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet. Morgan lead his own trio.

As a genre crossing/blending percussionist with a classically trained ear, Eric Thielemans has worked his way via jazz drumming and free improvisation towards his own realms in Music & Performance. Grown from a teenager in the mid Eighties to a contemporary professional – for him along with fellow artists from the same generation – a multi-disciplinary way of work comes naturally.Known from his work with Billy Hart, Trevor Dunn, Mika Vanio and Laurie Anderson. Has been a member of Chantal’s band since 2011

Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist, composer, and singer/songwriter Kevin Hays’s many recordings have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine and Jazz Times, as well as the “Coup de Coeur” award from the Académie Charles Cros (France). Kevin has appeared on numerous albums as a guest artist, recording with Chris Potter, Bill Stewart, Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Nicholas Payton, and Al Foster, among many others.


Chantal Acda (BE) – Vocal, Guitar
Eric Thielemans (BE) – Drums
Shahzad Ismaily (US) – Guitar, synths, percussion
Thomas Morgan (US) – Double bass
Kevin Hays (USA) – Piano
Frans Van Isacker (BE) – Saxophone

Manchesterstraat 49A/f, 9000 Ghent.
Jens Tytgat