ANTWERP — The Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp, Belgium recently organized an exciting project allowing many of its students to study and perform with world class jazz musicians. Among the students was Alex Baboian, a guitarist and composer originally from the Boston area, who is spending this year at the conservatory.
The special guest was a jazz saxophonist, in Baboian’s words, the “incomparable Chris Potter from New York,” performing with the Antwerp Jazz Orchestra led by teacher and trumpet player Bert Joris.
Following intensive rehearsals in late April, Baboian and colleagues performed a program composed entirely of Potter’s tunes arranged especially for the project by students in the orchestra. Baboian, who wrote the arrangement for the Jazz Orchestra (his first for Big Band), said “the challenge was a uniquely humbling experience I will not soon forget, and the talented group of musicians (consisting of students from conservatories in Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, along with Chris Potter) gave the music a life far more colorful than I could have imagined.” Performances were held at venues De Singel (Antwerp), CC Muze (Heusden-Zolder), and the legendary Bimhuis (Amsterdam).