mercredi 10 mai


Eglise Saint Martin

Ben van Gelder - saxophone

Kit Downes - organ

Ben van Gelder & Kit Downes


Kit Downes and Ben van Gelder count as two of the most innovative voices currently active on the European improvised music scene. They have worked together in various formations and are both bandleaders and composers in their own right. As a duo they are uniting in an adventurous setting combing saxophone and pipe organ. The repertoire consists of a combination of originals, composed specifically for the organ, free improvisations and folk music. They both draw from similar inspirations including Olivier Messiaen, Craig Taborn and John Coltrane. Downes flowing and imaginative approach to the instrument is striking, drawing the listener in with unexpected textural, melodic and harmonic turns. Critics and peers alike praise him for his versatility and open mindedness. Van Gelder is regarded internationally as an authority on the alto saxophone. He displays a remarkable amount of tranquility and overview and alternates transparent lyricism with explosive virtuosity.

A native of the Netherlands, Ben van Gelder moved to New York at age 17 and spent a decade collaborating and studying with some of the most progressive artists in the world including Ambrose Akinmusire and Mark Turner.
He formed a quintet of forward thinking peers and recorded three critically acclaimed albums under his name. The ensemble toured extensively in Europe, Japan and the U.S. He performs regularly with guitarist Reinier Baas and Dutch drum legend Han Bennink.
Van Gelder also studied art history. Visual art, stories and objects often serve as a conceptual framework for his music.
His last record, Among Verticals, was inspired by a painting of abstractionist Frantisek Kupka, the album received 5- star reviews in press publications word wide. Van Gelder won multiple awards such as the Deloitte Jazz Award
and the Gold Award granted by the National Endowment for Advancement in the Arts. Ben van Gelder was commissioned by the BIMHUIS, The Jazz Gallery (NYC), the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw and Het Orgelpark.
His compositions have been performed by the Metropole Orkest, the KEIO light music society, the Swiss Jazz Orchestra and others. Van Gelder is currently based in Amsterdam where he is on faculty at the Conservatory.

Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated solo recording artist for ECM Records.

He has toured the world playing piano, church organ and harmonium with his own bands (‘ENEMY’, ‘Troyka’ and ‘Elt’) as well as with artists such as Squarepusher, Bill Frisell, ‘Empirical‘, Andrew Cyrille, Sofia Jernberg, Benny Greb, Mica Levi and Sam Amidon.

He has been commissioned by the Cheltenham Music Festival, London Contemporary Orchestra, Biel Organ Festival, Ensemble Klang at ReWire Festival, the Scottish Ensemble, Cologne Philharmonie and the Wellcome Trust.
Downes also performed as part of the National Theatre production of ‘Network’ from 2017-2018, featuring actor Bryan Cranston. He holds a fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he himself studied and now teaches. He has twice been awarded 1st place in Downbeat’s Critics Poll Rising Star for Organ and Keyboard categories respectively, and his ECM records ‘Obsidian‘, ‘Dreamlife of Debris‘ and ‘Vermillion‘ have been released to much critical acclaim.