Florizoone’s bottomless enthusiasm, his natural boyish flair on stage soon made him one of Belgium’s most cherished musicians. This is particularly clear in small line-ups (solo, duo and trio) in which the accordionist feels particularly at home. His melancholy, melodious compositions lend themselves well to quiets moments of emotion, while his extroverted nature loves to engage in dialogue – or is it a courtship display? – with his fellow musicians, musicians he selects with care so that he can remain faithful to them for a lifetime.
He has released two CDs (Cinema Novo in 2008 and Balades Ephémères in 2013) with cellist Marine Horbaczewski and tuba player Michel Massot. He then invited them to appear in the music-theatre production Secrets, which Florizoone created at the request of JazzLab Series with soprano Claron McFadden. His two partners in crime were also present when he brought together no less than 12 musicians from Europe and Africa for Mixtuur, his tribute to the Congolese métisses (see later).
It is striking that the simple little melodies out of which Florizoone’s compositions are generally made lend themselves to a range of interpretations, often by esteemed jazz musicians. He has, for instance, a permanent duo with Dutch trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and he has set up a number of projects with Baba Zula. The trio he set up with Vloeimans and German cellist Jörg Brinkmann was christened Cinema Paradiso. That’s when the next domino fell: of course, Florizoone’s music has a clear cinematic quality. His first soundtrack, for Aanrijding in Moscou, immediately earned him a World Soundtrack Award. A handful of scores for feature films and documentaries followed.
One of Florizoone’s achievements is that he has lifted the accordion out of the clichés of musette and folklore, without having had to commit a patricide, so to speak. No extreme experiments at the other end of the musical spectrum à la Kimmo Phjonen for him, but rather the act of sounding out the roots of his instrument so as to explore new horizons with it. This is perhaps most evident in the project Mixtuur. Florizoone initially wrote the number ‘Queskia’ for the trio Tricycle, but he revised it later for this ambitious show that pays tribute to the lost generation of métisses from the Congo.
Arranging seems to be second nature to Florizoone, just as leading large ensembles and winning audiences over when he is on stage. Mixtuur gathers leading figures of the Belgian jazz scene and combines them with African vocalists and percussionists. It is a synthesis of Florizoone’s musical universe in which his accordion and inspiring personality are the binding factors in a timeless musical party.
Foto: (c) Stephan Vanfleteren