Tutu Puoane (born Nontuthuzelo Elaine Puoane) was born in 1979. Shestarted her professional career in Johannesburg (1997). She studiedwith Jelena Reveshin at the University of Cape Town, where she obtaineda Diploma in music performance, and in 2002 she received a 2 yearscholarship to study with Rachel Gould at The Hague Conservatory ofMusic and Dance in The Netherlands. She performed in RSA, Italy, US,Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Tutu has played a lot with well-known South-African musicians. Sheperformed in New York as a vocalist with the South African NationalYouth Big Band and in 2001 she played with the Afro/Latino band TucanTucan at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town. In July 2004 shedebuted with her European band in South Africa, at the Grahamstown ArtsFestival and in 2008 they played one of the most successful concerts onthe Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Tutu has worked with the Brussels Jazz Orchestraas a guest vocalist for their project 'Writing Billie', a tribute toBillie Holiday. Because of this successful partnership, the BJO askedher to take part in a cross-over project between jazz and classicalmusic with the Flemish Radio Orchestra and in 2010 she will be featuredby the BJO in a program dedicated to the late Miriam Makeba, thelegendary South African diva.
Tutu has won several prizes in important South Africanjazz-competitions: the Old Mutual Jazz encounters for Cape Region in2000, a Merit Award for Young Promising Talent in the Daimler ChryslerSouth African Jazz Competition (2001) and in 2004 she was the recipientof the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Music.
She shared the stage with a.o. Sibongile Khumalo, Marcus Wyatt, JudithSephuma, Jack van Poll, Hein van de Geyn, Hans van Oosterhout, DréPallemaerts, Stacy Rowles, Mark Murphy, Madeline Bell, Georgie Fame,Roy Hargrove, John Engels and Toots Thielemans.
Tutu has recently been appointed as a board member of the Jack van PollFoundation, which will focus on an exchange study program between youngSouth African musicians and music teachers from the Rotterdam MusicConservatory in The Netherlands.
In 2007 she released her debut Song on Saphrane Records (S 62602), followed in 2009 by Quiet Now (S 62607).
Ewout Pierreux is seen as one of the most promising young talentsamongst Belgian jazz pianists. He studied with Ron Van Rossum in Leuvenand attended master classes with Brad Mehldau, Bobo Stenson, KennyWerner, Bruce Barth and Bill Carrothers.
He is a sideman in "t-unit 7" (a project of sax player Tom Van Dyck),plays for the Tuesday Night Orchestra and has his own Trio and Quintet.
Recently Ewout has become more and more active as composer andarranger. Most of the originals on Tutu's new album were written by him.
Ewout played with a.o. Toots Thielemans, Kurt Van Herck, Bart Defoort,Philippe Aerts, Bert Joris, Dr‚ Pallemaerts, Martijn Vink and worked assideman on several Belgian and international festival stages like theGent Jazz Festival, Jazz Middelheim, Gaume Jazz, Park Jazz Kortrijk,Brosella, Jazz in 't park Gent, Marktrock Leuven and Mano Mundo inBelgium. Internationally he performed at The Cape Town InternationalFestival (RSA), Cully Jazz Festival (Switzerland) and Grahamstown ArtsFestival (RSA).
Nicolas Thys graduated in electric bass and double bass at theConservatorium of Hilversum (The Netherlands) in 1994. After that hetook lessons from Dave Holland, Marc Helias and Marc Johnson. In 2000,he moved to New York in search for a new challenge, to return toBelgium in 2007 after realizing several projects. During his career hehas received many awards, including the Django d'Or for Best YoungTalent in 2001.
Nicolas has played with Rick Hollander, Lee Konitz, Judy Niemack, BillCarrothers, Bart Van Lier, Toon Roos, the Metropole Orchestra, KennyWerner, Simon Nabatov, Marc Ducret, Toots Thielemans, Mark Turner, BobMalach and many others.
His bass playing is in high demand and currently he works with as asideman with a large number of bands. He recorded several cd’s and is atalented composer. Two of his songs, 'Baby, baby, baby' and 'PerfectLife', are found on Tutu's new album Quiet Now.
Lieven Venken graduated cum laude at the jazz department of the LemmensInstitute (Belgium) in 1999 and continued his studies with KeesCranenburg (Conservatory of Amsterdam, Holland) and with Billy Hart(New York), also attending master classes with Bian Blade and JorgeRossy.
He quickly became on of the most sought-after drummers on the Belgianjazz scene and he moved to New York in 2002 where he currently plays inmany bands.
He has shared the stage with Mark Turner, Claudio Roditi, Tim Armacost,Hein van de Geyn, Jonathan Moritz, Brian Lynch, Pete McCann, Jesse VanRuller, Frank Vaganée, Nicolas Thys, Bart Defoort, Lindsy Horner, KrisDefoort, Bo Van Der Werf, Erwin Vann, Michel Herr, Ron Van Rossum,Manuel Hermia, Peter Hertmans, Steve Houben, Nathalie Loriers, Sal LaRocca, Bruno Vansina, Jozef Dumoulin, Piet Verbist, Erik Vermeulen,Jean-Louis Rasinfosse and many others.
He had the chance to participate in the Worlds Project of Erwin VannSextet with Norma Winstone, Eric Vloeimans, Michel Herr and StefanLievestro. Lieven divides his time between his home in Harlem, New Yorkand Belgium, playing concerts all over the world.