Bram Weijters' Crazy Men is a thrilling take on Belgian jazz-rock and fusion from the 1970s. Consisting of musicians from a wide array of contemporary jazz bands including Lucid Lucia (ex BRZZVLL), Dans Dans, STUFF. and Cargo Mas, the ensemble is led by Antwerp based piano and keyboard player, Bram Weijters.
On a continuous quest to explore the roots of early Belgian jazz rock, the spark for this very special collaborative project was ignited by the reissue of composer, arranger, pianist, and keyboardist Koen de Bruyne’s 1974 rare Belgian gem, ‘Here Comes the Crazy Man!’ via Sdban Records in 2015, which spawned the release of Bram Weijters' Crazy Men’s debut album ‘Here They Come’ in 2019.
Continuing their obsession with premium experimental jazz-rock, ‘The Return’ takes further inspiration from the period with 14 reworking’s of compositions from artists including Philip Catherine, Placebo, Palle Mikelborg ensemble, Bob Porter, Cos and Koen de Bruyne. But this is no lazy rehash, copy or rip-off. Pyschedelic, free-spirited and infectiously groovy, ‘The Return’ perfectly captures the inspiring crossover energy that seemed to prevail in the Belgian jazz scene of the 70s. Take ‘Nineteen Seventy Fourths’ for example. Influenced by the Philip Catherine recording of the same name which appeared on the ‘September Man’ (1974) album, Bram Weijters' Crazy Men breathe new life into the track which floats anywhere between heavy funk and psychedelic jazz rock and also takes inspiration from the Palle Mikelborg ensemble live version performed at Jazz Middelheim in August 1974.
Elsewhere, a reworking of Placebo’s ‘Planes’ is inspired by two memorable live performances of the track from Marc Moulin’s jazz-fusion band; ‘Placebo Live in Temse’ (1972) and ‘Placebo Live in Bruxelles’ (1973). An all-out assault of crossover energy, it fizzes with dramatic trumpets and a racing rhythm section while ‘Carol’, originally recorded by Steve Houben, Mauve Traffic for the album ‘Oh Boy’ (1979) brings the pace right down and allows Weijters’ piano to take centre stage.