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Hanne De Backer

Hanne De Backer is an Antwerp based saxophone player and performer. She is an energetic and versatile improvisor and founder of  g a b b r o , a fluid collective of musicians and other artists that confront free improvisation with unexpected locations and its inhabitants. So far,  g a b b r o  has been playing and recording in empty exhibiton-halls, old sewage systems, parking lots, laundrettes, the prison of Antwerp, on roofs and mountains and, for the last project, along the Belgian coastline.  g a b b r o  has released two well-received LP's on two Belgian labels: 'gabbro'  (El Negocito Records, 2017) and 'granular' (Dropa Disc, 2019).

In March 2021, together with Brooklyn-based drummer Raf Vertessen and Belgian pianist Andreas Bral, Hanne walked the whole Belgian coastline in the company of a camel and a camera crew. The goal was to register this coastline by recording the musical impressions of the trio alongside the road. Everyday improvised sets were played and recorded on different locations in- and outdoors, starting at the French border and ending five days later at the border with the Netherlands. The result is a 45-minutes music documentary; an ode to imagination and persistence, a plea for slowing down and truly encountering one another. 

Besides  g a b b r o , Hanne has been collaborating with musicians like Signe Emmeluth, Terrie Ex, Farida Amadou, Paul Lovens, Paal Nilssen-Love, Audrey Lauro, Raf Vertessen, Andreas Bral, Raphael Malfliet, Henrik Munkeby Nostebø, Steve Swell, Jakob Bro, Agnes Hvizdalek, Isabelle Duthoit, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Wolf Eyes, Jon Bishop, Martin Küchen and others.

She is part of the Brussels saxophone-collective La Nuée, Antwerp underground Condor Gruppe, is often heard playing duo with people like Terrie Ex, Signe Emmeluth, Raphael Malfliet e.o. and lately is also seen and heard solo. She has been playing throughout Europe with her own projects and has been a welcome guest on different festivals like Summer Bummer Festival (Belgium), The Ex-40-Festival (the Netherlands & UK), Blow Out! Festival (Oslo), Music Unlimited Wels (Austria), Catalytic Festival (The Netherlands), Potentiale Festival (Germany), Taktlos Festival (Switzerland),...

She has also been active in theatre with KVS, Zonzo Compagnie and  d e t h e a t e r m a k e r and more recent composed and performed the soundtrack of '21.02.2021 One day in the world, the world in one day', a theaterperformance from Nico Boon and produced by Arsenaal Mechelen.

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Album Review

Steve Swell: Dances With Questions

Read "Dances With Questions" reviewed by John Sharpe

American trombonist Steve Swell plays to the strengths of his talented cast of improvisers on the sprawling multifaceted Dances With Questions, a three-CD box set which documents his three day residency at the 2019 Krakow Jazz Autumn. The center piece is the 70-minute title cut for a dozen musicians, but the album also includes two discs of small group encounters captured in the city's legendary Alchemia club during the previous evenings. Swell, a veteran of the New York ...

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"De Backer is an artist with vision. She is also active in literature, theater and performance. Her art is something deep and essential. This album sounds incredibly promising for future work."

Stef Gijssels on 'Granular', The Free Jazz Collective (1/07/20)****1/2

"Granular proves to be a successful balancing act. Taken from sessions spread over three days, both live and in the studio, the seven parts serve as a highly personal puzzle, while also engaging the listener to dive in. There is hardly a conventional sound or technique to be heard, yet the music evolves with an organic flow that keeps things fresh and captivating throughout. Even though the sources and approach involved a heavy dose of fragmentation, taken together, the granules paint a picture that feels complete and stimulates the imagination."

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The moon appears when...

g a b b r o records 001


Dances With Questions

Not Two Records



Drop Disc



El Negocito Records


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