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Jack Sels: Minor Works (SDBAN)

Review of 2-CD archival collection by a little-known Belgian saxophonist worth discovering

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Cover of Jack Sels album Minor Works
Cover of Jack Sels album Minor Works

This archival project is a sublime curiosity. Sublime because the two-CD package is so beautiful. Curious because Jack Sels, a long-dead Belgian tenor saxophonist, is so obscure.

In the 1950s and early 1960s a number of players came out of Belgium and made a name for themselves internationally: Toots Thielemans, Bobby Jaspar, René Thomas, Philip Catherine. Sels was not one of them. He stayed home in Antwerp, recorded rarely, and in his last years seldom played in public. All the same, he was important to the development of the modern jazz scene in his native country, where he became a cult figure. He died in poverty at 48 in 1970.

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