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Frank Vaganeť - Jazz Composers Forum

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  • Frank Vaganeť
  • Frank Vaganeť

    (BE)

     

    The personal style of Frank Vaganée derives from such crucial influences as Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and Lennie Tristano, among others who he studied in depth. A prominent soloist on the dynamic Belgian jazz scene, he has long been recognized as one of its key figures: in 1991 he was named by the press the most important jazz talent in Belgium; in 1993, he won the CERA Jeugd en Muziek Prijs; in 1994, the Prix Nicolas d'Or with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra; in 2001, the Django d’Or; most recently, in 2011, he received an important distinction from his hometown of Mechelen.

     

    Vaganée was born in 1966, and by the age of 20, his name was already associated with the numerous projects he led, and for which he composed and wrote arrangements. He quickly extended his activities to large ensembles, working as a saxophonist with the jazz orchestra of Flemish Radio and Television (BRT) and representing Belgium in the big band section of the European Broadcasting Union. But the project through which he gained most visibility internationally was the one he created in 1993 in conjunction with Serge Plume and Marc Godfroid, after the disbanding of the BRT. With the aim of creating new opportunities for instrumentalists, arrangers and composers, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra came into being, under the artistic direction of Vaganée.

     

    Frank Vaganée’s work within the sphere of composition and arrangements for jazz orchestras has been closely intertwined with the history of the BJO. The orchestra's multifaceted work is a reflection of the multiple musical interests of its leader: one moment he is collaborating with iconic Belgian composers such as Bert Joris, Michel Herr and Philip Catherine, the next he is joining international legends such as Dave Liebman, Phil Woods, Kenny Weeler, Maria Schneider, Richard Galliano and Kenny Werner, to name but a few. The album by the orchestra that offers a clearer idea of​the ways through which Vaganée’s composition moves is Countermove, released in 2006, which is totally dedicated to his works for big bands. One can hear the ecstatic swing of Mr. Iron, Stone, Wood and I, which deconstructs as a suite through different rhythmic landscapes, the reformulation of the evocative sounds of Count Basie with The Blues Goose, or the lightness of the bossa-influenced Seasoned.

     

    These are just some examples of music that wins us over with its rich melodic lines left on the score by the composer's pen and created by soloists based on highly suggestive harmonic grids.

     

    As a clear signal of the importance of the work of Frank Vaganée, his BJO is already considered the best European big band by critics from Down Beat magazine. In 2011, he played music by Ludovic Bource for the French silent film The Artist, specifically the parts for big band. The film's success has been accompanied by a celebrated soundtrack, which has won several awards, including an Academy Award.