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Dutch saxophonist Joris Posthumus promises ‘fireworks and energy’ at River Jazz Festival trio performance 8 December

River Jazz Festival Brussels concert 8 December
12:21 04/12/2023

The 9th edition of the River Jazz Festival is preparing to go out with a big bang. After almost three weeks of quality and diverse jazz, the Brussels festival reaches it climax this weekend with an intense programme of concerts.

Stepping onto the stage at Jazz Station on 8 December is the Joris Posthumus Trio from the Netherlands.

Accompanied by Matheus Nicolaiewsky (double bass) and Sander Smeets (drums), saxophonist Posthumus told The Bulletin that the audience can expect “a lot a of fireworks and energy; I’m a very energetic player who always plays to the max.”

The musician and composer describes his style “as this kind of spiritual thing that Coltrane developed”.

As a new trio, the musicians have already earned accolades for their musical versatility and freewheeling style, alternating fast swing melodies and moving ballads without harmonic instruments. The trio mixes hard-hitting hard bop with complex modal structures to create a masterful electrifying sound.

Tilburg-based Posthumus says he’s an emotional player, and his organic writing more effective when he’s not in the best state of mind. “If it’s real hardship, then I’ll block, so I’m more creative when I’m somewhere in between the two states.”

Practice sessions with Nicolaiewsky and Smeets are also a key motivation to compose. The alto and soprano sax player praises his “very cool band”, even if his talented younger fellow musicians “make me feel like an old man”.


His own prodigious musical career began as a drummer and then a clarinettist, joining his banjo-playing dad on stage at the age of eight to perform Dixieland and New Orleans music. “I thought this is super easy money, I will just be a musician when I’m older”.

With 30 years of experience behind him, Posthumus now recognises that his career choice was not necessarily the most lucrative, although his passion for making music remains undented. “It becomes your way of life; for me there’s nothing else but music.”

One aspect he does enjoy is the travel, although this has been somewhat on hold since the pandemic. Posthumus has a second musical group in Japan. Together, they recorded the album Tokyo’s Bad Boys, released on the Challenge Records label before an extensive tour of Japan and the Netherlands.

Posthumus is currently mastering their second album, which is due to be released in March. He hopes to travel to Japan next year and organise an album tour.

Is there a different style between his two formations? “Most of the stuff I play is original, so there’s always a recognisable style,” he responds. “I love jazz and the swing and groove it has, those ingredients are paramount for me.”

The River Jazz Festival booking is a welcome opportunity to return to the Belgian capital and perform in one of his favourite venues. “Jazz Station is one of nicest places to go, and the people who run it are great.”

The annual festival – staged at Marni and Senghor as well as Jazz Station – runs until 9 December. Its closing event is the River Jazz Night on Saturday, when Belgian diatonic accordionist Anne Niepold presents three projects performed consecutively in each venue.

She teams up with pianist Florejan Verschueren at the Jazz Station, before duetting with UK accordionist Andy Cutting at Senghor, and finishes with a revival of her group Musette is not Dead in the bar of Marni

River Jazz Festival: Joris Posthumus Trio
8 December 20.30
Jazz Station
Chaussée de Louvain 193a/195

Photos: ©Eddy Westveer

Written by Sarah Crew