Boundless Trio

Uncategorized January 10, 2022

Boundless Trio

Boundless Trio is the trio of 87 year old sculptor, painter and double bass player Paul Van Gysegem, trumpet player Patrick De Groote and percussionist Chris Joris.

Van Gysegem and De Groote debuted in the European Free Jazz scene from the late 60s and early 70s and reunited 50 years later for the ‘Boundless’ CD. On the 14th of January, the Boundless Trio will play at De Singer in Rijkevorsel, Belgium.

Boundless Trio | S.M.A.K. Gent 2019 | Photo by Karin De Vriendt

You play next Friday with the Boundless Trio. What does the “boundless” in the name stand for?

Paul Van Gysegem: Not being bound by musically inhibitory formulas. The music itself can’t be forced. We bring a free musical language beyond borders. “Boundless” navigates on the appreciation of each other, on musical intuition, rather than the rational “have to”, with a lot of rules and limitations.

Boundless is a trio. Is it like this: the smaller the line-up, the bigger the amount of freedom?

The smaller the band, the easier it is to feel a bond with the other players, to get into a dialogue and create an exciting musical conversation. It’s always important that none of the involved musicians wants to impose himself in a disruptive way, no matter what line-up. Me myself, I can only look back in a very positive way about the duo concerts I played. But also in a quintet, it’s my main concern that all the bricks fit together. Listening well to each other is essential.


Why did you choose Patrick De Groote and Chris Joris for your trio? What do you have in common with them?

Over the years Patrick and I played together regularly and we both decided to bring out a CD exploring our musical affinities. We thought Chris Joris was the ideal complementary person to our duo and that turned out to be so.

I know Patrick and Chris from the 60s, when our musical journey started. I got to know Patrick as the promising trumpet player from the university jazz combo. From that moment on, he played in my quartet, quintet and sextet. Together with Patrick, I organized several concerts and, not to forget, the four Free Music festivals at Gravensteen, Ghent.

Paul Van Gysegem and Patrick De Groote at Gravensteen 1973 Avant Garde Jazz Festival Paul Van Gysegem | Photo by Mark Van Gysegem

Chris Joris has the ability to feel complex rhythms and sound colors. This fascinates me endlessly about him. What also binds us is our love for African music. Besides that, Chris is also a visual artist, just like saxophone player Cel Overberghe. That also creates a bond.

Building rhythmic musical structures and lines in an intuitive way is also something I find in my own way of playing. As a trumpet player, Patrick creates the staccato broken structures. This way, we build a counterpoint texture together.

Do you, Patrick and Chris get together to rehearse before a concert, or is what you do pure improvisation?

We do discuss the most essential things, like: how are we going to start? How do we divide the course of the musical conversation? And not to forget: how to use silence as part of the whole. I myself sometimes take a drawn “score” with me as a source of inspiration. But here also, it’s more about intuition than about a “have to”. What the other musicians do with my “score”, that’s something I leave up to them.

Paul Van Gysegem in Galerie Elias Wieze with Steve Potts and Ambrose Jackson in 1971 | Photo by Mark Van Gysegem

In 2017, you released the ‘Boundless’ CD on El Negocito Records. Is there a link between that CD and the upcoming concert, or are these two separate things for you?

The CD is a good guide. It reflects what will happen at a concert, but not in an identical way. We always look at the blessed moments and surprising musical discoveries.

In the liner notes of the ‘Boundless’ CD, there’s a line that talks about a ‘horizontal way of thinking’. What do you mean by that?

This is a term that Chris uses in the way we form our musical structures. We have a logical and organic structure, based on good listening, mutual respect and letting all the questions and answers tell a coherent story. It’s not about the score, it’s not about playing a lot of notes, it’s about creating a positive tension between us and about telling a story together.

Will the concert at De Singer be recorded and released as a CD?

I have no idea. Please ask the people at ‘De Singer’.

You’re 87 now. Which role does music play in your daily life? Do you play music every day? Do you listen to music every day?

I can’t imagine a life without music. The music I listen to is “our” Western Classical music, from very long ago until now. I feel specifically attracted to early Polyphonic music from the low lands until Bach, who brought it all together in one life. Then there’s ethnical music from far away cultures, or not so far away (Spain, Italy or the Balkan). I am also very interested in music from the Middle East, India and especially from Africa.

Boundless Trio | S.M.A.K. Gent 2019 | Photo by Karin De Vriendt

All this means: a lot of CDs, LPs and DVDs!

And of course, there’s jazz, starting with moving rural blues, up until free improvised music. Together with this last evolution in what we call jazz, I feel a connection with Contemporary music, which also contains elements of free improvisation. Sadly, I don’t always find the time or the right occasion to listen to all this. I lose a lot of time driving to my studio, but I try to use this time usefully by listening to music in the car. Which means for me: 3 hours each day. In my studio, I’ve got my 2 fidel guards: a good looking double bass with a deep sound and a great punch. And another double bass which is perfect to create virtuoso sounds on. Then I’m already at the next concert…

Joeri Bruyninckx

Boundless Trio | Paul Van Gysegem, Chris Joris & Patrick De Groote | Friday 14 January 2022 | 20:30

Headline photo: Paul Van Gysegem | 2017 De kantfabriek Ninove |

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