Marc Danval

If there is anyone who can call himself “Monsieur Jazz” in Belgium, it is unmistakably radio man, writer, photographer and all-round epicurean Marc Danval.

Marc Danval, “Jazz 100 – A history of jazz”, Flagey (Studio 3):
lectures in French on 15.01, 29.01, 19.02, 11.03 and 26.03 at 11 am.

Who is… Marc Danval?

Marc Sevenants aka Marc Danval (°1937) grows up in an artistic environment, his father (Fernand) and grandfather (José) being both well-known classical pianists and composers.

He preserves the respect he has for the classical world but merely aged nine, young Marc gets completely hooked on his great love and that is jazz.

During his military service, he gets the opportunity to host a radio programme in the famous Flagey building. That is how he discovers his second passion: radio broadcasting. Very soon, he presents his own radio show on Radio Luxembourg (now RTL). Today, he still hosts his regular radio show on La Première (‘La troisième oreille’, each Saturday from 2 to 3 pm).

By the age of fifteen, he writes his first article about jazz. It marks the beginning of an extensive series. Later, he also writes for Pourquoi Pas? and Paris Match, to name just a few.

Books such as ‘Robert Goffin - avocat, poète et homme de jazz’ and ‘Histoire du jazz en Belgique’ remain notable works of reference, as well as ‘Dictionnaire du jazz à Bruxelles et en Wallonie’ which he co-authored with Robert Pernet and Jean-Pol Schroeder.

In 2010, he passes on his incredible jazz collection (books, recordings, scores, photographs, documentation…) to the Royal Library of Belgium (the Marc Danval Fund).

To this day, Marc Danval is and remains a passionate and erudite narrator, the man of the thousand and one (jazz) anecdotes.


What is…

... your favourite spot in Brussels?

That is undeniably L’Archiduc. At the time, it was one of my favourite jazz locations in Brussels. Stan Brenders was the owner then. And, coincidence or not, it seems he was a former student of my granddad. Personally, I have known the classical universe of my family very well but when I heard ‘Boogie Woogie’ by Brenders on the radio, without a moment’s hesitation, I rushed to Maison Bleue to buy the record. The saleslady did not have it in stock but she was trying to be helpful and showed me a similar track by “Koen Bazie” – which in fact appeared to be none other than Count Basie.


… the last CD or album you bought for yourself?

I am a huge Don Byas fan and I thought I had all his albums and CDs until I discovered ‘New York - Paris, 1938-1955’ recently. It contains a whole series of interesting pieces which I did not know.
At the end of his life, he lived in Amsterdam and was a regular guest in Belgium. He often stayed at my place, just like many other artists including Bill Coleman and of course Chet Baker. As a matter of fact, the latter sometimes exaggerated as he literally emptied my bar.


… your fondest memory of a recent concert?

I have been following piano player Eve Beuvens for quite a while now. Her most recent concert at the Jazzstation with Heptatomic really won me over. On stage, she shows an authority that few people have. She conducts like the best. And as a composer, she is also very strong. For me, she is on the verge of becoming the Belgian Carla Bley.


… your favourite quote of the moment?

I am still very much interested in new currents and trends but I do remain faithful to bebop. When I discovered jazz a few years after WW II, there was the Charlie Parker shock and I am still feeling the effect today. With obviously in his wake other beboppers the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke and Charlie Christian.