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A jazz prodigy on the guitar

20 February 2020. Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, in residence at Bozar, celebrate their concert with a jam at the Bozar Café Victor. A young musician takes up the guitar, backing the melodic strains of the famous New York trumpeter like no other. Eliott Knuets is back at Bozar, this time for a proper concert, in quartet, in the famous Henry Le Bœuf Hall.

This article is part of

Bozar Next Generation: 25 Years

In 2020, you had the opportunity to jam with none other than Wynton Marsalis. What did that mean to you?

It was a fantastic experience, and it felt like a dream. While I was playing, I didn't think about anything else, it was a very special feeling that you have when you are truly "in the music". Having the opportunity to jam with him opened many musical doors for me. An unforgettable experience!

Could you describe yourself in three words?

Hard to say, but I would say passionate, epicurean and contemplative.

You will be performing in the Henry Le Boeuf Hall in Bozar. How do you feel about that?

It is a tremendous honour to be able to play at this venue. Many big names of the jazz and classical world have played there, which makes the place very meaningful to me.

You won't be coming to Bozar alone, but you'll be joined by a few friends. Could you briefly introduce them?

I will be in a quartet with Sam Gerstmans on double bass. He is one of my most favourite musicians in Belgium and Europe. He was also one of the reasons I started playing jazz. Peter Hertmans will be playing guitar with me. He is a familiar name in the Belgian jazz scene and is extremely experienced. He is one of my greatest inspirations and I consider him one of my best friends. You'll hear Wajdi Riahi on piano. He is a young, very talented pianist from Tunisia. I met him in Brussels, where he is also studying at the conservatoire. He has a wealth of both musical and personal experience.

What can we expect from the concert?

We will play our own compositions, specifically the pieces I recorded on my first album in January 2021. The line up is different to the album, as it also features Olivier Collette, Daniel Jonkers and Stéphane Guillaume. As there are no drums, the concert will feel a lot more intimate. But that will fit perfectly with the gorgeous acoustics of the great hall. The album comes out on 11 February, so the concert is the ideal time to get familiar with it.

What is your greatest dream?

My greatest dream is to be able to inspire people musically. I am so grateful to the artists who have inspired me. I hope one day to inspire that feeling in other people as well.