The Belgian bassist Félix Zurstrassen leads N O V A, a prestigious international quintet of top European musicians with an artistically composed repertoire. He is accompanied by the Franco-Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras, the Dutch alto saxophonist Ben van Gelder, the English pianist/organist Kit Downes and the Belgian drummer Antoine Pierre. Located at the crossroads of modern and contemporary jazz, the quintet offers sophisticated, melodious and contemporary music, with a strong emphasis on the acoustic sounds of the instruments.
For the past fifteen years, Zurstrassen (Sabam "Young Talent" Jazz Award 2017) has established himself as a key figure on the Belgian jazz scene. A versatile musician at the crossroads of numerous projects that have left their mark (Antoine Pierre Urbex, Fabrizio Cassol Conference of the Birds, Typh Barrow, LG Jazz Collective...), he revealed himself for the first time as a leader in 2017 at the helm of a trio bringing together Nelson Veras, one of the most fascinating guitarists on the European scene, and Antoine Pierre, a prodigious drummer with whom he has formed a remarkable rhythmic tandem for several years now. In 2019, the trio was joined by the internationally renowned alto saxophonist, Ben van Gelder from the Netherlands. He had been playing successfully on the New York scene for almost ten years prior to that. In 2019, Zurstrassen recorded a debut album that subtly mixes the trio and quartet formulas. The album N O V A was released on CD and vinyl on February 7, 2020 on the Igloo Records label. It was unanimously praised by the music critics of the Belgian and international press.
The meeting with the English pianist and organist Kit Downes, signed to the prestigious ECM label and winner of the BBC Jazz Award, was a turning point in the summer of 2021. It didn’t take much for Kit to blend in perfectly with the musical universe of Félix Zurstrassen. The musical symbiosis with this extraordinary musician who has a brilliant career on the international scene was immediate. Over the years, encounters and musical affinities have forged the colourful line-up of this eclectic quintet.
Pictures © Gaël Maleux