In the 1980s, at the beginning of his career, David Linx walked in a land that was not sown. “I come from a period in which you say you want to be a jazz singer, and people say, ‘What is this?'”, he said in an interview with the African American Review. “Really, I’m not exaggerating. A white, male jazz singer? Forget it. You might as well go on welfare immediately. So I had to find a way to become better at what I did by really going against the grain.” And so he did. Linx is both a singer songwriter and a composer, a versatile musician and producer fluent with a variety of instruments. Born in Brussels 55 years ago, he has been living in Paris for more than twenty years. He has collaborated with a great many artists such as Steve Coleman, Clark Terry, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Toots Thielemans, “Slide” Hampton, and Kenny Wheeler, to name a few. Linx became widely known following his collaboration with African-American author and human rights activist James Baldwin. In 1986, together with Belgian guitarist, Pierre Van Dormael, they released the groundbreaking album, “A Lover’s Question”. He still refers to Baldwin as his mentor to this day and says that period was perhaps the last to accommodate the opposing ends of creating avant-garde and being commercial.
Considered one of the finest jazz singers of his generation, Linx rose above the challenging starting point to create his own unique way. “If I’m going to be a singer,” he said, “I don’t want to be in the shadow of anyone. Construct an alphabet, a vocabulary, and then hope you’ve got a story to tell.” He has won countless awards and acknowledgements, including the 2019 Voice of the Year Victoire Du Jazz French jazz award and knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Letters of France; recorded more than 15 solo albums as a lead or co-lead; a frequent guest of jazz productions; and leading masterclasses around the world. On Belgium’s 175th birthday, he was honored to sing the national anthem to the King and Queen in front of an audience of about 800,000 people.
Linx has successfully made his mark changing the common perception of jazz singing. Whether he performs original materials or pays homage to legendary singers, such as his tribute to Jacques Brel with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Linx’s unique and precise voice is always well defined complementing his ability to create an exquisite balance between his singing and the accompanying instruments. Jazz is a cosmopolitan art form as he said in an interview, “I think jazz has never been as international as it is today, proving once more that it is a language made of many different alphabets and vocabularies and not the expression of one culture and/or subculture.” One of his reviews described his performance as the current incarnation of the successful scat and that it seemingly creates a feeling of gravitation losing its bearings – as if the autumn leaves (the famous song title) were spinning towards the heavens rather than falling to the ground.
David Linx Vocals
Grégory Privat Piano
Chris Jennings Double Bass
Arnaud Dolmen Drums
Photo by: shelomo sadak