Smooth Shake (De Werf)

Bert Joris & The Brussels Jazz Orchestra

Released December 2016

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review




The new project of the Antwerp trumpet-composer Bert Joris with Brussels Jazz Orchestra is called Smooth Shake. It is the 4th major project with Bert, after Signs and Signatures (2010), Dangerous Liaison (2006) and the 2002 double The Music of Bert Joris. Quote Bert Joris: “A warm sound, that’s what I went looking for for this record. I wanted a sound that embraces you and gives you energy, like a strong friendship. It has become a calm record and yet it invites you to move, to dance. Not too exuberant, but smoothly.”

Bert Joris

Jazz trumpet player Bert Joris (° 1957) has built up a solid reputation as an improviser, composer, arranger and teacher. His work is performed by orchestras around the world. Joris has been awarded several times for his work and his most recent solo album (Only for the Honest, Nov. 2011) was praised in Belgium. Over the years Joris and BJO toured together from Sweden to the USA.

Brussels Jazz Orchestra

Brussels Jazz Orchestra, or BJO for short, brings jazz with a dynamic, orchestral sound, rooted in the jazz tradition. Belgium’s only professional major jazz orchestra has a reputation that stretches from Singapore to New York and is a welcome guest at festivals and venues around the world. The ensemble’s recordings, 19 CDs so far, are internationally acclaimed and awarded. In February 2012, the orchestra shared in the Oscar triumph of the silent film The Artist, as a co-performer of the film score. The CD Wild Beauty with Joe Lovano scored two Grammy Award nominations (2014). Brussels Jazz Orchestra was founded in 1993 and is Flagey’s resident orchestra.

Track Listing:

1. O.U.T. 07:27

2. Smooth Shake 08:25

3. Only For The Honest 06:27

4. Brussel – Parijs 07:44

5. Spaces 06:56

6. How Could We Forget 08:22

7. Mr. Dado 08:47

8. Nasty Boy 08:08

9. Smooth Shake [radio edit] 04:57


Frank Vaganée: flute, alto saxophone

Dieter Limbourg: alto saxophone

Kurt Van Herck: tenor saxophone

Bart Defoort: tenor saxophone

Bo Van Der Werf: baritone saxophone

Serge Plume: trumpet

Nico Schepers: trumpet

Jeroen Van Malderen: trumpet

Marc Godfroid: trombone

Lode Mertens: trombone

Frederik Heirman: trombone

Nathalie Loriers: piano

Hendrik Braeckman: guitar

Jos Machtel: double bass

Recorded July 7 – 9, 2016, at Kunstencentrum De Werf in Bruges, Belgium
Producer: Frank Vaganée
Executive producer: De Werf, Brussels Jazz Orchestra vzw (Koen Maes)

Recording engineer: Gyuri Spies

Editing and mixing engineer: Gyuri Spies

Assisted by Bert Joris and Frank Vaganée

Mastering engineer: Darcy Proper (Wisseloord)


This rollicking CD may at times evoke Gil Evans, at others Benny Golson. But trumpeter-composer Joris and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra offer their own kind of cool, spanning both versions of the funky title track, the rich ballad “How Could We Forget” and “Nasty Boy,” standouts among these nine captivating tunes. “Nasty Boy” is a witty portrait of a snazzy dude that sets Joris’ tart lines and squeals against fat trombones to forge a waycool piece of Euro soul; Toni Vitacolonna’s drumming also abounds with flourish and drama. In a similarly engaging vein: “Mr. Dado,” a showcase for alto saxophonist Frank Vaganée, Hendrik Braeckman’s guitar and Marc Godfroid’s trombone.

Carlo Wolff (DownBeat)