For about a decade, the bassist Félix Zurstrassen has collaborated on many projects spanning numerous musical horizons as diverse as they are varied. With this rich and flourishing musical experience, this artist awarded Sabam's "Young Talent" Jazz Award in 2017 is now launching his first solo project working closely with the celebrated Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras and his loyal accomplice, the talented Antoine Pierre on drums.
The repertoire, composed entirely by Félix Zurstrassen, was especially thought out with this original trio in mind. The music is melodic, innovative, demanding and ambitious in a number of regards. At the heart of this conscientiously organised universe, the intense trio improvises in complete freedom alternating enthusiasm and restraint.
Through this musical project, Félix Zurstrassen intends to establish himself not only as one of the most celebrated Belgian bassists of his generation, but also as an enlightened musician and composer.
Born in Brazil in 1977, Nelson Veras developed a unique style based on a mix of classical guitar,
contemporary jazz and his Brazilian roots.!
Nelson Veras moved to France at the age of 14 and instantly drew the attention of a large
audience after performing on a special TV show where he played with Pat Metheny. When he was
16 he formed his first band, a quartet with with Eric Barret, Michel Benita and Aldo Romano, with
which he performed at renowned festivals such as Jazz in Marciac and the Nice Jazz Festival. At
the same time he was part of Aldo Romano’s band with Palle Daniellson and Stefano Di Batista,
and joined Michel Petrucciani’s sextet ‘Young Lions’.!
In 1998, at the age of 20, he was one of the 3 winners of ‘Premio Visa of Brazilian Music’ alongside Hamilton de Hollanda and Andre Mehmari.! In 2001 he performed alongside Lee Konitz, Gary Peacock and Aldo Romano in a tribute concert to Michel Petrucciani.! 2003 marked the recording of his first solo cd on Label Bleu with Magic Malik, Harmen Fraanje and Stéphane Galland. In 2004 and 2005, he toured and recorded with Steve Coleman’s Five Elements. In 2009 he recorded a solo guitar CD released on Beejazz. And in 2011 he recorded a trio CD on the same label with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Stéphane Galland. Each of these records has received an extremely positive response from both the professional press and the general audience. !
Other collaborations include: Richard Galliano, Octurn, Manu Katché, Aka Moon, Tomasz Stanko, Eric Le Lann, Mark Turner, Gary Thomas, Greg Osby, Benoît Delbecq, Jozef Dumoulin, Marc Ducret, Airelle Besson, Jonathan Kreisberg, Rick Margitza, Miroslav Vitous, Dre Pallemaerts, Alain Jean-Marie, Billy Cobham, Jon Faddis, Johnny Griffin, David Linx, Eric Legnini ,Abraham Laboriel , Linley Marthe, Etienne m’Bappe, Moktar Samba, Toninho Horta ,U.Sivaraman, Marcia Maria, Rita Marcottulli, Aydin Essen, Furio di Castri, Adam Pieronczyk, Peter Bernstein, Frank Mobus, Jesse Van Ruller, Hein Van de Geyn, Andre Ceccarelli, Linda Oh, Ziv Ravitz, Curtis Fowler, Jonathan Finlayson, David Virelles, Gerald Cleaver, Marylin Mazur, Jen Shyu, Michel Grailler, Jean Francois Jenny Clark, Jean Jacques Avenel, Glenn Ferris, Jean Michel Pilc, Riccardo del Fra, Robertinho Silva, Marcio Montarroyos, Jeff Gardner, Martijn Vink, Fabian Fiorini, Gautier Capucon, Marcus Gilmore, Tyshawn Sorey, Dafnis Prieto, Vincent Segal, Minino Garay, Anga Diaz, Prabhu Edouard, Daniel Humair, Stephane Edouard, Jean Pierre Como, Michelle Hendricks, David Venitucci, Renaud Garcia Fons. !
Nelson Veras gave countless workshops all over the world and has been a teacher at the ‘Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris’ (CNSM).! He performed on numerous records as a sideman and has been touring all over the planet.!
“His improvisations are magnificent. It’s been quite some time since an artist like this has emerged, with a creative power that’s absolutely unquestionable. Nelson, BRAVO !” - Pat Martino!
“Nelson isn’t a guitar player like the others because his approach is not guitaristic but one that reveals a peerless musician. One that never plays what’s obvious but only pleasant surprises with a mind blowing technique. He’s an extraordinary musician.” - Lionel Loueke!
“In my life there’s been a ‘before Nelson Veras’ and an ‘after Nelson Veras’: a unity of measure towards music, a singularity that confirms that in music, there will always be something that transcends us.” - Malik Mezzadri.
After a childhood spent on listening to the records of his parents, blowing into a saxophone and banging on washing powder packs, Antoine Pierre started playing the drums at the age of 12. Eager to turn the noises he produced into music, he consulted his elders: a.o. Stéphane Galland, Antonio Sanchez, Bill Stewart, Dan Weiss, Greg Hutchinson,...
In 2008, together with musicians such as Igor Gehenot, he created the Metropolitan Laboratory, a band that he brought to multiple festivals such as Jazz à Liège Festival, Dima Jazz Festival (Algeria) and Comblain Jazz Festival where the band won the Young Talent Award.
As he turned 18 in 2010, Antoine Pierre joined the regular band of Belgian guitar legend Philip Catherine which allowed him to tour extensively in various important leading jazz venues and festivals in Europe and abroad such as the Blue Note Jazz Club (Milano, IT), Le Duc des Lombards (Paris, FR), New Morning (Paris, FR), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels, BE), The Grand Theater (Maastricht, NL), De Bimhuis (Amsterdam, NL), Tel Aviv Jazz Festival (Tel Aviv, IL), Bern International Jazz Festival (Bern, CH), Alger Jazz Festival (Algiers, DZ), Django Rheinardt Jazz Festival (Paris, FR) a.o.
In 2014, Antoine and bassist Nicolas Thys joined the brand new band formed by dEUS frontman Tom Barman and saxophonist Robin Verheyen. Together they released in 2015 a first record on major label Universal under the name of Taxiwars. The band has been touring intensively in Europe and is in the process of recording a second album.
Since 2010, Antoine has been having the honor to perform with world-class musicians such as Philip Catherine, Philippe Aerts, Enrico Pieranunzi, Didier Lockwood, Frank Vignola, Tim Armacost, Perico Sambeat, Jean-Paul Estiévenart, Nic Thys, Tom Barman, Robin Verheyen, Steve Houben, Toine Thys,...
In 2014, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Master degree from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Antoine moved to New York to study at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and to play with musicians of the local jazz scene.
Now back in Brussels, Antoine Pierre released his first record "URBEX" as a leader on Belgian label IGLOO Records. He is active on the music scene as a sideman as well in projects such as TaxiWars, Félix Zurstrassen Trio, Toine Thys trio, Jean-Paul Estiévenart trio, LG Jazz Collective, Alain Pierre Tree-Ho!, David Thomaere trio, Lorenzo Di Maio Group,...