Highlights of 20 years Mâäk
Early December, the original partners in crime of Mâäk played four exclusive concerts. This exceptional Mâäk Five reunion concluded the 20th anniversary of the renowned jazz collective. Throughout 2018, Mâäk Quintet, MikMâäk and Mâäk KOJO also displayed the collective’s tireless spirit. An overview of this anniversary year’s highlights … and a preview of the best yet to come!
Concerts with Mâäk Five in the Jacques Pelzer Jazz Club in Liège and La Conserve in Leuven. Celebrating 25 years of WERF records with the Mâäk Quintet and Ghalia Benali (Mw’Soul) during Jazz Brugge. And touring to Tours (Le Petit Faucheux) and Alsemberg (De Meent) with MikMâäk… Laurent Blondiau and his fellow musicians had quite a busy schedule this autumn.
Extraordinary energy from Benin
Maybe their energy boost was due to the ‘voodoo’ performances with the Anagoko family? In August and September, a colourful mix of musicians and dancers from Benin and Belgium named Mâäk KOJO gave a series of gigs and workshops, after previous tours in 2010 and 2012. They stunned the Bar du Matin in Forest, Espace Senghor in Etterbeek and De Centrale in Ghent with their spiritual trance, spontaneous improvisations and avant-garde compositions.
Cartes blanches at Jazz Middelheim and Marni Jazz
As artists with no limits and passionate innovators, trumpeter Laurent Blondiau and the other members of Mâäk are constantly looking for renewal. It is therefore not surprising that they were given free rein at a number of reputed jazz festivals.
In August they got carte blanche during Jazz Middelheim. Klara’s Lies Steppe interviewed Laurent Blondiau and Fabian Fiorini for the occasion.
At the Marni Jazz Festival mid-September, Laurent played another carte blanche by inviting Hungarian guitarist Gabor Gado, contrabass player Sébastien Boisseau (Mâäk Five) and drummer Samuel Ber (Mâäk Quintet). Read more.
Kicking off the jubilee
The tone of the anniversary year was set early 2018: the atypical big-band MikMâäk performed in mid-January at Centre Wallonie Bruxelles and the Brussels Jazz Festival in Flagey. After which they played at De Roma in Antwerp and the Cinquantenaire in Brussels in springtime.
In addition, the Mâäk Quintet did several performances in Liège (L’An Vert) and Brussels.
Eternally off the beaten track
What started in 1998 as an urban legend under the slogan “MÂÄK”, grew into a jazz collective with many different offshoots. Two decades later, their music is still as contemporary and their discography consists of ten CDs. The compilation album Mâäk 20 bundles the most famous tracks and a number of unpublished gems from the past 20 years.
And what will the next 20 years be bringing? One thing is certain: Mâäk will continue to map out its quirky jazz path along the crossroads between tradition and avant-garde, orchestration and improvisation and diverse cultures.
Next appointment: in early 2019, MikMâäk will record a new live album during a concert on February 1 at the W:Halll in Woluwe Saint-Pierre. Read more.