The Belgian bassist Félix Zurstrassen leads NOVA, a prestigious international quintet bringing together some of the finest European musicians of their generation to perform a carefully 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 PierreEach of them possesses a singular musical identity combined with exceptional instrumental mastery. Located at the crossroads of modern and contemporary jazz, this quintet works to create lyrical, innovative music anchored with nuance and emotion in the present moment.


For the past fifteen years, Zurstrassen (Sabam "Young Talent" Jazz Award) 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 "Nova" was released on CD and vinyl on February 7, 2020 on the label Igloo Records. It was unanimously praised by the music critics of the Belgian and international press.


The meeting with the British 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 NOVA.


Since then, the quintet has completed several concert tours, released a digital live album "Nova - Live" in May 2023 and recorded a new studio album in June 2023. This album, entitled "Elusive", was released on 09 February 2024 on Igloo Records and is available on CD, vinyl, download and streaming.


« Although he draws on classical and contemporary music, Félix Zurstrassen's jazz is above all melodic and organic, with shifting and surprising forms that make it a veritable living substance. [...] The result is an enthralling piece of work that demands the utmost respect for its depth and rigour. »

Félix Marciano, Jazz Magazine (FR)


« The marvellous chemistry between these musicians produces an album of great class. Everything sounds so natural, so joyful, so detached, so free. It's hardly surprising that these musicians continue to come together for new projects or groups, such is their chemistry. Elusive is great 'European' jazz. »

Dick Hovenga, Written in Music (NL)


« This is an exciting album: jazz, real jazz, that swings, grooves, energises and sends you into the clouds. The melodies composed by bassist Félix Zurstrassen are fantastic. And the way the five musicians treat them is beyond description. »

Jean-Claude Vantroyen, MAD Le Soir (BE)


« It would undoubtedly be premature to speak of a record of the year for an album heard for the first time on the second of January, but here is a record that carries us away from the first to the last track and confirms the talents as composer and arranger of Félix Zurstrassen, a discreet but oh so luminous musician whose association with all the talents around him is almost telepathic. »

Jean-Pierre Goffin, JazzMania (BE)


« Félix Zurstrassen’s rare virtuosity combines the extreme demands of his music and the way in which he knows how to deliver it to the public: like a clear, collective and generous adventure. Offering an ensemble made up of the finest blades of European Jazz compositions that he dedicates to them, he draws a world of surprises, like so many decors that the listener discovers, flabbergasted by so much invention, carried away by the masterful cohesion of an ideal group, of staggering maturity. »

Daniel Yvinec, bassist, multi-instrumentalist and artistic director (FR)

Picture © Gaël Maleux