Pianist/composer Jef Neve (1977) has become a prominent figure in his homeland Belgium and his reputation is rapidly spreading to the rest of the world. He studied at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven and graduated in 2000 as Master of Music in Jazz and classical piano, both with great distinction. In 2001 he specialized in Chamber Music and was rewarded the diploma 'cum laude'. He followed master classes with Brad Mehldau, Martial Solal, Lew Tabackin, Billy Hart, Bill Carothers, Kenny Werner, Bruce Barth and others.
The Jef Neve Trio performed the album Soul In A Picture at major festivals like Paris Jazz, North Sea jazz, Vienna Jazz, Montreal Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz, Veneto Jazz, London Jazz Festival, Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival, Münster 'Jazz Inbetween', Lille Festival, Audi Jazz, Blue Note Gent, Madrid, Barcelona, Toulouse, Mexico, Berlin, Athens, Middelheim, Rabat, etc.
In 2008, the Trio obtained great acclaim at Bremen JazzAhead, in Spain and during their first perfomrances in Japan, where they have since recorded a track with trumpet player TOKU for the Japanese release of their CD.
Since then the Trio is performing just about everywhere, from tours throughout Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico to concerts in beautiful venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in most European countries:Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the UK, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic.
The outstanding musicianship combined with fine-tuned interactivity and visible joy while playing is very communicative and makes an event of each concert. After the Trio’s concert at Bremen Jazz Ahead Jazz.com wrote : « But it was Jef Neve from Belgium who took Jazzahead ! by storm. It earned the loudest ovation of the whole event as everyone sensed the arrival of a major talent. »
- The release-concerts for the album Imaginary Road in five of Belgium’s foremost venues in front of 700 to 800 people received standing ovations from sold-out halls, as well as in The Netherlands; Amsterdam ‘Bimhuis’, Utrecht, The Hague Jazz and in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan.
Music World wrote : « With Imaginary Road Jef Neve confirms to be one of the major pianists on the European jazz scene : a fifth album like a consecration, and a big challenge for the competition. »
And after their performance in Australia at Wangaratta Jazz Festival : « the guy is unbelievable, as a self-confessed atheist his concert was a religious experience... people were wandering around after his concert gob smacked...after his first concert at Wangaratta all his CD's were sold out...the trio is a world class jazz act. » (Brian Saxby reporting from WJF)
In addition they played for sold out venues in Germany (Burghausen festival, Trier), France (Duc des Lombards, Paris), Japan (Cotton Club, Tokyo) and Osaka.
- The concert in Brussels in 2008 with the American singer Jose James resulted in the cooperation for a project “Facing East – the music of John Coltrane”, which brought on 4 concerts in 2009 in Brussels, Amsterdam, London and Paris. The duo toured the USA, Canada and European Summer festivals with the album For All We Know in 2010.
- The release-concerts for the album Sons of the New World in 2012 and the tours through the cultural centers in Flanders early 2014 have already made it possible for more than 15000 people to enjoy the concerts.
- In 2013, Jef Neve had successful tours through Thailand, China, South Korea, Japan, Kenya, Australia and Denmark, where he played phenomenal concerts for sold out venues as a soloist or with the Jef Neve Trio as well as with local musicians. Jazz pianist Jef Neve has been involved in the Japanese jazz scene for several years. In June 2013, he established his first Chinese contacts at a show case festival in Shenzen. Since then he went back in October and played at diverse festivals. De jazz scene is blooming there, although the genre is relatively new for mose Chinese people. When Jef however dresses a Chinese traditional tune in a jazz style, “they go absolutely mad”.
As long as there are no lyrics involved, jazz escapes the Chinese censure politics, which makes this country and by extension all of Asia the focus for the future.
- The first album of the Jef Neve Trio, ‘Blue Saga’ (Contour, 2003), was immediately a bestseller.
- The second “It’s Gone” (Contour, Nov 2004) was a jazz album in Belgium. It received the prestigious Radio Klara prize for ‘Best International Jazz Album 2005’ and unanimous acclaim in the international press
- In 2004 the album Witches Dance was released with the Frederic Delplanc Quartet.
- Jef Neve signed with Universal Music Belgium in 2006. “Nobody is Illegal” (Universal/Emarcy) was again a best-selling jazz album in Belgium.
- The album “Soul In a Picture” was released in May 2008 on Universal Music Belgium followed by world wide release in 24 countries. The trio’s concerts were sold out at all the main Belgian venues, and the CD and international concerts received great reviews in the press all over the world.
- Jef Neve met with American singer José James end 2008 when he was invited to his live radio-show and the duo decided on the spot to record some standards together one free afternoon. The recording resulted to be magical, and the album « For All We Know » was released on Impulse!/Verve in May 2010.
- With the band ‘Groove Thing’, with the world famous guitarist James muller, Nicolas Kummert on sax, Nic Thys on bass and Lieven Venken on drums, Jef goes back to his first love, the Hammond organ. The band recorded a live-album at two sold-out concerts in Brussels’ Ancienne Belgique : «The Love Album » (Prova Records, May 2010)
- The album Jef Neve Soundtracks – De Helaasheid Der Dingen – Dagen Zonder Lief (two movies by Felix van Groeningen) was recorded in the Music Centre De Bijloke, Ghent, and was released by EMI Music Publishing Belgium.
- Jef Neve’s trio album “Imaginary Road” (September 2010, Universal/Emarcy), was recorded with his long-time companion Teun Verbruggen on drums and a great young bass player: Ruben Samama, from Dutch origin living in NY.
- Jef Neve’s album Sons of the New World was written for his trio with added woodwinds and horns. He dedicated this album to the changes in the world today and recent developments in the Arabic world, and was released end October 2012 on Universal/Emarcy. At the same time he made a first jazz video-clip surrounded by a bunch of young talented artists.
- His Second Pianoconcerto was recorded in 2013 with Jef Neve on the piano, together with the orchestra Il Novecento conducted by Dirk Brosse. This album will be released mid-2014.
- In Flanders Fields, the soundtrack to the prestigious TV series 'In Vlaamse Velden' will be released in 2014.
- In October 2014, Jef Neve's first Solo Album has been released. The long awaited album was recorded in London's Abbey Road Studios and is released all over the world.
In March 2017, the new album Spirit Control will be released, this time with bass, drums and a string quartet.
Parallel to his fast growing activity as jazz artist, Jef Neve stays active in the classical scene:
- He prepared the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach during 2005, which he performed several times in 2006 and 2007. He often performs as a soloist with orchestra, among others a Gershwin program with the Flanders Philharmonic.
- His 1st Piano Concerto, which was commissioned by the Bijloke Muziekcentrum, premiered in May 2009 in sold out venues in Brussels and Ghent with the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Michel Tabachnik.
- Jef Neve’s 2nd Piano Concerto premiered in October 2012 in four main venues in Ghent, Brussels, Hasselt and Antwerp, with the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Andrew Litton, and received standing ovations. Jef Neve will be performing this concerto again in several countries during 2014-15. An arrangement for 2 pianos has been performed several times with pianist Alexander Gurning.
- The VRK (Flemish Radio Choir) commissioned a piece for choir, piano and orchestra, for a series of ten concerts in Jan/Feb 2010.
- A new piece for choir ‘Wintermoon’ was created in december 2012 and was also performed multiple times with the VRK.
- Jef Neve forms a duo with pianist Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort in a project ' classic and jazz '. The duo was on tour in 2012-13 with the program "If Mozart and Monk were Brothers.
- In memory of WWI, Jef, Dirk Brossé and Frederik Sioen composed a hymn together, commissioned by the Flemish Government. It became an ode to world peace, without avoiding the theme of war and the result was called ‘Distortion, a hymn to Liberty’, created on April 21st 2015 in Brussels. It is performed again in June 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
- Jef performed his 2nd piano concerto with the Thai Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro Delta David Gier, during a short tour to Bangkok in May 2016.
SOUND TRACKS :
- Jef Neve wrote the sound track for the film ‘Dagen Zonder Lief’ (2007) by Belgian film director Felix Van Groeningen. Critics mentioned the sound track as being one of the strong points of the movie, and Jef was invited to perform extracts from the score at the “World Soundtrack Awards 2008”. The film was also shortlisted for the European Film Awards in Berlin.
- He composed the sound track for the new film ‘The Misfortunates’ by Van Groeningen, which was awarded at film festivals in Cannes ,Toronto, and received 3 awards at 'The Hamptons International Film Festival' in New York.
- Neve also wrote the music for the documentary; ‘Verdwaald in het Geheugenpaleis’ from Klara Van Es (2010), for the theatre production 'De tocht van de Olifant' (2012) etc.
Jef Neve was the recipient of several prizes:
2004: ZAMU Awards Best Artist; Klara price for Best Jazz (It's Gone)
2005: ZAMU Awards Best Artist; the ‘Cultuurprijzen Vlaanderen’ in the category ‘music’; Best international Jazz-album of the year (Jef Neve Trio); ‘Octaves de la Musique 2005’.
2006: Prix Choc, France for the album ‘Nobody is Illegal’
2007: ZAMU Awards Jazz.
2008: Music Industry Awards Best Musician
2009: MIA Best Musician
2010: Edison Award for the album ‘For all we know’
2010: MIA Best Composer
2012: MIA Best Composer and Best Musician; award of the best resident of Ghent as musician
2012: award of the best resident of Ghent as musician.
2016: Honorary Citizen of his home city Geel
2016: United Humans Award for mutual respect.