Belgian Jazz guitarist Jeanfrançois Prins was born in Brussels and currently resides in Berlin. He has spent most of his adult life as a professional musician, arranger and producer; performing, recording and collaborating with many of today’s Jazz giants. He has been teaching private instrument lessons and classes in Berlin’s Music Universities, where he lead the Jazz Guitar Departments for over a decade, and gives workshops and master-classes internationally, communicating with enthusiasm his passion for this expansive music to the next generations of players.
Jeanfrançois has several current projects as a leader. His “Colliding Universes” is a 6tet which features 2 tenor saxophones, a fluegelhorn, bass and drums. "All Strings Attached" features his trio plus a classical string quartet, performing his original compositions and arrangements. He also co-leads a new 4tet with american saxophonist extraordinaire Andy Middleton. He just completed the recording of his sixth CD as a leader "El Gaucho", featuring his trio with Joris Teepe on bass and Victor Lewis on drums, plus guest Rich Perry on tenor saxophone. Coming soon!! At age 18, Prins started playing music as a self-taught improviser.
At age 19, Prins was already leading his own professional band, performing his original tunes and arrangements. In 1991, he graduated as a Sound Engineer from the world famous I.N.S.A.S. School for Performing Arts in Brussels, Belgium. The same year, he was awarded the First Prize for Instrumental Performance at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles, as well as the “Golden Sax”, awarded by both the French- and Dutch- speaking Jazz journalists in Belgium.
As a guitarist, Jeanfrançois Prins has performed as a leader and/or as a sideman with Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Judy Niemack, Kenny Wheeler, Bud Shank, Lew Tabackin, Gary Bartz, Jaleel Shaw, Gary Foster, Gary Bartz, John Ruocco, Andy Middleton, Steve Houben, Jacques Pelzer, Peter Weniger, Julian Priester, Jiggs Whigham, Randy Brecker, Uli Beckerhoff, Tim Hagans, Till Brönner, Jim Mc Neely, Kirk Lightsey, Dan Haerle, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Michel Herr, Walter Norris, Kirk Nurock, Mal Waldron, Bruce Barth, Stephen Scott, Alban Gerhardt, Mike Richmond, Eddie Gomez, Putter Smith, Jay Anderson, Scott Colley, Rufus Reid, Hein Van de Geyn, Ricardo del Fra, Ratzo Harris, Bruno Castellucci, Steve Davis, Adam Nussbaum, Joe La Barbera, Jerry Granelli, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, John Betsch, Al "Tootie" Heath, Café, Pandit Sankha Chatterjee, Quincy Jones, Peter Herbolzheimer, Jay Clayton, Darmon Meader, Theo Bleckmann, Janice Borla, Katalina Segura, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay... Jeanfrançois Prins has released five CDs as a leader. The fourth one, "All Around Town" (TCB 99402), was conceived as his own musical photo album of New York City. He recorded it in trio with bassist Mike Richmond and drummer Adam Nussbaum, plus saxophonist Lee Konitz as a guest. His latest release "Light" (GAM 918), is co-led by drummer Steve Davis, in trio with bassist Larry Kohut. "El Gaucho", his sixth CD feat. Joris Teepe, Victor Lewis and Rich Perry will be coming soon!!
He is also featured as a soloist and accompanist on a large number of recordings.
Jeanfrançois Prins has been featured on TV in Belgium, France, Holland, Estonia, and on the satellite channel Muzzik, both in interviews and performing. In 1994, he was an actor and musician in the Belgian movie "Just Friends", which won several prizes and was nominated for an Oscar in the United States as "Best Foreign Film". In early 1999, the Belgian television (RTBF) produced a special documentary feature about his international career, both as a musician and an educator. It was also aired on the worldwide French language channel TV5 in the summer of 1999. Several musicians have played Jeanfrançois Prins’ compositions :
"New York Stories" was recorded by his own quintet, Toots Thielemans, Judy Niemack, Kenny Werner, Michel Herr & Jack Van Poll, The Terrassa Big Band (arranged by German top arranger Peter Herbolzheimer) , the WDR Big Band (arranged by Grammy-Award winner Jim Mc Neely), and has been used for several years as the title song of the Radio Judaïca Jazz Program in Belgium. It was also used in a TV commercial for the Belgian Postal Service, which was aired on four different channels in Belgium for six months. It was also arranged for big band by Grammy-winner arranger Jim McNeely, and by German top arranger Peter Herbolzheimer.
"Cat’s Eyes" was recorded and performed by his own quintet, by singer Mary Kay, then featured in Belgian TV game show "Génies en Herbe", which was aired five times world-wide on the international TV5 channel.
"What" was recorded and performed by his own quartet, trumpeter Richard Rousselet’s quintet, and by Lee Konitz.
In the beginning of the year 2000, he was hired, together with Judy Niemack, to compose and perform all the original music for a documentary-film series to be aired on the Discovery Channel.
Always very involved in the groups that he decides to play with, Jeanfrançois Prins has written arrangements and originals for them (Richard Rousselet, Lee Konitz, Mary Kay, Judy Niemack, Toots Thielemans, ...).
Being a sound engineer and knowledgeable about the record industry, Jeanfrançois Prins has always had a producer’s approach to his projects. He produced and arranged Mary Kay’s CD, "Make Someone Happy", featuring Toots Thielemans. He co-produced three CDs for Judy Niemack, Richard Rousselet’s CD “Waitin’ For You”, and Sören Fischer’s CD “Don’t Change Your Hair For Me”. He produced and arranged Judy Niemack’s recording “About Time” (SONY JAZZ), her recent CDs “Blue Nights” and “In the Sundance” (BLUJAZZ). His other most recent productions include “What’s Goin’ On?” by the Terrassa Big Band, and virtuoso pianist Walter Norris’ new project “Elements ‘n Motion” (Sunburst Spring ’09). He is also consulted by colleagues on questions of sequencing, editing and choice of "takes".