Hungarian and Belgian musicians join forces: Balassi Jazz Club

Hungarian and Belgian musicians joined forces to mesmerize the melophiles of Brussels with the finest Jazz tunes. 

In 2016, the Balassi Institute came up with the idea of organizing regular Jazz concerts in its venue. The primary scope of the program was to provide quality entertainment for the local public by bringing the best Hungarian Jazz musicians to Brussels. In addition to this, the team aimed to create connections, to build musical bridges between prominent Belgian and Hungarian musicians. To do so, the Balassi Institute asked Tamás Zsári, saxophonist to team up with local Jazz musicians and invite for each concert a leading figure of the Hungarian Jazz scene.

Since the creation of the Balassi Jazz Club 10 sold out concerts were organized with acclaimed guest of the genre: Gábor Gadó and Laurant Blondieu, Roby Lakatos, Kristóf Bacsó, Béla Szalóky, Gábor Cseke, Gábor Winand, Mihály Borbély, János Hámori and Linda Kovács.



The next concert is scheduled for 21 February 2019 at 7PM with Elza Valle as lead singer. The Cuban singer and composer will captivate the public with her powerful and melancholic voice.

Elsa Valle (singer and composer) born in Cuba -descendant of a prestigous musician family- is living now in Europe. She studied in the best music academy in Havanna Escuela Nacional De Artes. Shortly after graduating she received her first appreciation at the famous Tropicana in Havana. She appeared at the most well-known Cuban and South-American festivals, earning worthily the praise of the audience and critics at the famous Cuban festival ”Boleros De Oro”. Her style can be defined as an interesting and fantastic blend of traditional and contemporary Cuban singing. Her voice and singing is melancholic, luscious and explosively improvisational at the same time. She brought her music and wonderful voice to a worldwide public by appearing at jazz, latin and pop festivals as San Remo Festival or La Bienal Flamenco Festival. She performed on stages captivated by Estremeno, Santana, Al di Meola or the legendary Cuban musicians from Buena Vista Social Club. Besides international appearances she captured the audience with her wonderful voice and talent also on the biggest Hungarian stages like Pepsi Sziget, opening for Omara Portuondo, Cachao Lopez, or Ibrahim Ferrer. Recently she has been working with her own group keeping the Cuban tradition alive by singing the jazz in her unique style mixing it with rhythm and melodies of Cuban music.


Balassi Jazz Club

The Balassi Jazz Club is formed by Tamás Zsári – saxophone, Gábor Ladányi – guitar, Bruno Castellucci – drums and Bart de Nolf – double bass.

Tamás Zsári

Born in Budapest, he graduated from the jazz department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. After graduating, he moved to the USA, where he lived and worked for 3 years. In 2001 he received an invitation to join the Budapest Jazz Orchestra and he is one of the founding members of the Modern Art Orchestra. He has played with internationally renowned musicians such as Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebmann and he performed at many festivals in Hungary and Europe. With his band, he also plays his own compositions. He is currently living in Brussels.


Bart De Nolf

Born in Bruges in 1965, he graduated at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent in ‘87 for double bass (classical). He attended jazz workshops in Dworp with John CLAYTON and Hein VAN DE GEYN from ‘81 to ‘84. Since 1986 he became member of the “BRT Jazz Orkest”, and he accompanied a number of soloists, like Horace PARLAN, Jerome RICHARDSON, Kenny WHEELER, Palle MIKKELBORG, Von FREEMAN. In April 97, he performed at Toots THIELEMANS’ 75th birthday concert in Brussels, with Toots, Philip CATHERINE and Brazilian stars Ivan LINS, Dori CAYMI, Oscar CASTRO-NEVES, Eliane ELIAS. Since then, he became a regular band member of the Toots Thielemans Quartet, and performed with Toots in Belgium, Europe, and around the world. He played several years with the French piano player Jean MARIE MACHADO’s “Sextet Andaloucia” and “Danzas”. In 2010, he formed a trio with English sax player ANDY SHEPPARD, and Belgian drummer DRE PALLEMAERTS. Together with Peter ERSKINE, he forms the rhythm section for the Frank DERUYTER Quartet.


Bruno Castellucci

He was born in Chatelet, Belgium. Since the age of 14 years, he plays the drums as a self-taught person. In 1962 he won the 1° price of drums at the Jazz Festival Adolph Sax Dinant, playing with René Thomas, Bobby Jaspar, Jacques Pelzer, Maurice Simon, Jean Leclerc, Francis Boland. From 1963 onwards is member of the Jazz quintet of Alex Scorier, played with Slide Hampton, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin, Benny Carter, Joe Pass, Walter Norris, Jigg’s Wiggham, Ferdinand Povel, Tete Montoliu, Palle Mikkelborg, Nathan Davis, Clark Terry, Red Rodney, Howard Johnson and Niels H.H. Pedersen. Since 1970 he have had recording sessions in Belgium, Holland, Germany, England, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, USA, Japan and Brazil. Between 1974 and 1980 he was member of the BRT Jazz Orchestra. He represented Belgium as a soloist In 1976 at the Jazz Festival of Pori in Finland, in 1977 at the Jazz Festival of Lubijana in Yugoslavia and in 1978 at the Noordring EBU Radio Concert. Since 1980 he is a member of the Peter Herbolzheimer Rythm combination and Brass.


Gábor Ladányi

was born in Budapest in 1993 in a musician family. He graduated from the faculty of jazz-guitar at the Kőbánya Music Shool, and from the faculty of classical guitar at Kodály Zoltán Music High School in Hungary. He has played in the Debrecen Big Band on several festivals in Hungary and recieved a gold award at the Big Band Festival in Budapest. Currently he is living in Brussels and studying at Koninklijk Conservatorium.

All concerts take place at the Balassi Institute  and are free of charge upon registration