In September 2019, Frank Vaganée invited Sam Gerstmans and Teun Verbruggen for a trio concert at the festival “Jazzathome”. The result was an unforgettable, casual musical afternoon with three sets of pure playing pleasure. This fresh interplay and love for improvised jazz music transcended all stylistic idioms and expectations.

This experience made the trio feel like coming together out of pure ambition for the music and without too much outside stress to further explore what had come into being that afternoon. And so it happened: the trio Vaganée – Gerstmans – Verbruggen saw the light of day. And it yearned for more – a lot more.

 The trio plays a mix of standards from the jazz repertoire and originals. Expect music from Monk, Ornette Coleman, Skulli Sverisson, Frank Vaganée to Mingus and Charlie Parker.

They recorded their first CD, titled “Black Diamond”, in full corona time. It is one of the trio’s first achievements since the lockdown. In the studio, they played a live set, which they also streamed. All these takes came in their entirety – without editing – on the CD. As befits a true jazz record: a collection of first takes that sparkle with spontaneous playing pleasure.

Frank Vaganée is a Belgian jazz saxophonist and composer. He is artistic director of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra (“BJO”) and teaches saxophone jazz, ensemble playing, big band and arrangement at the LUCA School of arts department of the Lemmens Institute in Leuven. Besides the alto saxophone, he also plays the soprano saxophone and the flute. Frank Vaganée won several awards, including, together with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, also an Oscar for his musical contribution to the film “The Artist”.

Since his graduation in 1999, drummer Teun Verbruggen has been at the top of the Belgian jazz scene. His typical sound, full of imagination and innovation, has made him one of the most sought-after jazz drummers. He played for years with Jef Neve Trio, Flat Earth Society (FES), Mauro Pawlowski, Paolo Fresu, Jozef Dumoulin, Uri Cain, Ikue Mori, Nate Wooley, Stian Westerhus, … .

Sam Gerstmans was born into a purebred family of musicians. He learnt violin, trumpet, electric bass and eventually switched to double bass. Soon he caught the attention of various teachers and musicians and started playing with several well-known jazz musicians. He worked with the band BCBG (Nicolas Kummert, Pascal Mohy), Steve Houben / Jacques Pirotton Inc (Stephan Pouging), Pascal Mohy Quartet (Quentin Liegois,) the Gregory Houben Quartet, and so on.

The debut album will be released September 15, 2023. 

Teun Verbruggen (BE) – Drums and electronics
Frank Vaganée (BE) – Saxophone
Sam Gerstmans (BE) – Double bass

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Jens Tytgat