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Jack Sels (1922-1970): 'The white negro of the docks'

Although this fact is not (yet) standard knowledge of Belgium, our country has a very rich jazz history. Belgium pioneered with a jazz magazine, jazz competitions and so-called 'hot clubs'. One of the important players was Jack Sels (1922-1970), an Antwerp saxophonist, composer and jazz myth. Despite the increasing interest in jazz research, this fascinating figure, and the social and cultural-historical context in which he operated, was not really explored. The present research wants to fill this gap, while at the same time giving a further impetus to research into Belgian jazz, with Antwerp as one of the most important jazz centers.

This research on Jack Sels has a cultural-historical and practice-oriented component. On the one hand, Sels' influence on the local, national and international jazz scene is being investigated. On the other hand, the influence of jazz on his own classical compositions is also studied. All this ultimately results in the construction of Sels' biography, a discography and playlist, a substantiated style analysis and in making his repertoire ready for performance.

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