Two years after the previous full B-Jazz International Contest, we picked up where we left off and welcomed the six finalists to B-Jazz in Ghent. In a very nicely decorated part of the festival site, we saw the following bands perform on stage: Latitude (Belgium/France/Italy), Michelangelo Scandroglio Quintet (Italy), O.N.E. (Poland), Matthias Van den Brande Trio (Belgium/Netherlands), Michele Frascà Group (Italy) and Half Easy Trio (Germany/Austria/Bulgaria).

With eight nationalities on stage, the international character of this competition for young jazz musicians was already guaranteed and the performances were all of high quality. Based on what we heard and saw, the future of jazz looks bright.

After the performance of the sixth finalist on Saturday night, the international jury retreated to deliberate, which was no easy task considering the high level of all the participants. They finally came to the unanimous decision that the winner of B-Jazz, the winner of the ‘Grand Prize Albert Michiels‘ is the Matthias Van den Brande Trio. This trio consists of Belgian saxophone player and composer Matthias Van den Brande, Dutch bass player Tijs Klaassen and drummer Wouter Kühne, also from the Netherlands.

Matthias Van den Brande Trio (winner Grand Prize Albert Michiels | B-Jazz 2022)
photo: Patrick Clerens

Some quotes from the jury report:

I love the space they used. They were very creative using the trio and different sounds, also embedded in tradition but with a modern approach. The interplay was just great!
Maarten Weyler (Belgium | musicologist | Royal Conservatory of Ghent & Halewynstichting)

I really loved the concept of the 2 voices of sax and bass. The very adult, very deep felt music and sound was really amazing. Fantastic compositions, really nostalgic with a nice gentle touch. The covid blues, we’ve got it all, so really fantastic!
Sabine Kühlich (Germany | singer & composer | Jazz Voice Hochschule für Musik Würzburg)

Very good interplay between rhythmical section and saxophone, original pieces but in connection with tradition and jazz language. No patterns and licks but very deep and full language and sound.
Nicola Di Tommaso (Italy | guitarist & composer | Saint Louis College of Music in Rome)

The tunes were so rich with colours and harmony and interplay. Propulsion, but never too much. You really embraced the emptiness of not having an harmonic instrument. Bravo!
Artan Buleshkaj (Belgium | guitarist & composer)

Very good balance and rhythmic patterns. There is a really good interaction in the band. We heard high quality music and very good melodic ideas. It was very interesting to hear you guys, thank you!
Aygül Günaltay-Weyler (Turkey | PhD in classical music & piano player)

Bravo to Matthias Van den Brande Trio! It was again not easy to choose one winner out of 6 beautiful concerts. I want to congratulate and thank all players for their musicality, creativity and kindness. Hope to see you all again!
Filip Verneert (Belgium | guitarist & composer | B-Jazz/Muziekmozaïek | chairman of the jury)

The jury (left to right): Sabine Kühlich, Maarten Weyler, Aygül Günaltay-Weyler, Artan Buleshkaj, Filip Verneert & Nicola Di Tommaso | photo: Patrick Clerens
The jury (left to right): Sabine Kühlich, Maarten Weyler, Aygül Günaltay-Weyler, Artan Buleshkaj, Filip Verneert & Nicola Di Tommaso
photo: Patrick Clerens

By winning the Grand Prize Matthias Van den Brande Trio can go and perform in SpainItaly and of course in Belgium in the coming months. When exactly they will perform where can be followed on the B-Jazz website and on