Jeanfrançois Prins

Jeanfrançois Prins
Born (1967-02-18)February 18, 1967
Brussels, Belgium
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, record producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Labels Challenge
Associated acts Judy Niemack Lee Konitz Fred Hersch Toots Thielemans Andy Middleton

Jeanfrançois Prins (born February 18, 1967) is a Belgian jazz guitarist, vocalist and record producer


He began playing guitar when he was eighteen. A year later, he formed a band and performed in clubs. His mentor was Toots Thielemans, who was known as a harmonica player but how started his career as a jazz guitarist. Other influences Prins cites include Lee Konitz, Miles Davis, and Kenny Werner.[1]

He graduated from college with a degree in audio engineering. From 1988–1992, he studied jazz at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, where he met Judy Niemack, a vocalist who would become his wife and music partner.[1]They divorced in 2016.

He has worked with Randy Brecker, Gary Foster, Fred Hersch, Billy Hart, Tim Hagans, Lew Tabackin, Lee Konitz, Mal Waldron, Kenny Wheeler, Jiggs Whigham, Jim McNeely, Walter Norris, Stephen Scott, Ivan Lins, Adam Nussbaum, and Kirk Lightsey. Since 2000, he has worked with the Berlin Jazz Orchestra.[1]


All Around Town (TCB), 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 fifth CD, Light (GAM), is co-led by drummer Steve Davis.

El Gaucho (Challenge, 2012) was recorded in New York City, with his NYC trio: Joris Teepe on bass and Victor Lewis on drums, with tenor saxophonist Rich Perry as a guest. El Gaucho is an example of his concepts of interactive trio and quartet playing with originals, standards and modern jazz compositions.

Prins' compositions are often performed and recorded, not only by his own bands, but by several other European and American musicians.

His tune "New York Stories" was recorded by his own quintet, Toots Thielemans, Judy Niemack, Kenny Werner, Michel Herr and Jack Van Poll, the WDR Big Band and the Danish Radio Big Band (arranged by Grammy-Award-winner Jim Mc Neely), The Jazz Terrassa Big Band (arranged by Peter Herbolzheimer), Swedish actress/vocalist Lisa Werlinder, and has been used for several years as the title song of the Radio Judaïca Jazz Program in Belgium and was used in a TV commercial for the Belgian Postal Service "What" was recorded and performed by his NYC trio + guest tenors Rich Perry (El Gaucho - Challenge Records), Richard Rousselet's quintet, Andy Middleton's 4tet, and by Lee Konitz.

"Central Park" was recorded and performed by his trio, Ulli Jünemann's quartet, as "Music Calls Me" by Judy Niemack (with her original English lyrics), and as "Sommar" by Lisa Werlinder (with her original Swedish lyrics).

Being a sound engineer, Prins 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 CD Blue Nights (BLUJAZZ), and her newest album In the Sundance (BLUJAZZ). His most recent productions include What's Goin' On? by the Terrassa Big Band, and pianist Walter Norris' new project Elements 'n Motion (Sunburst).

Prins has been featured on television both in interviews and performing in Europe, the U.S., and on the satellite channel Muzzik. In 1994, he was an actor and musician in the Belgian movie Just Friends, which won several prizes and was nominated for an Oscar as "Best Foreign Film". In early 1999, the French-speaking Belgian television (RTBF) produced a special documentary feature about his international career, both as a musician and an educator: Brussels - Berlin – New York - Jeanfrançois Prins. It was aired on the worldwide French language channel TV5 in the summer of 1999. Prins was followed and interviewed in NYC by a team of the RTBF News for a few days in 2006, for a report about the fifth anniversary of September 11.

Jeanfrançois writes original music for movie soundtracks as well as television (for example for the Discovery Channel in 2000, and the short film Coriolis in 2008).

He has also been teaching private instrument lessons and classes in Berlin's Music Universities, where he led the Jazz Guitar Departments for over a decade, at the ARTEZ Jazz School in Enschede, the Netherlands for a year, and gives workshops and master-classes in Europe and the U.S.


As leader

As sideman

With Lee Konitz

  • 1993 Rhapsody
  • 1996 Rhapsody, Vol. 2

With Judy Niemack

With others

  • 1991 Make Someone Happy, Mary Kay, with Toots Thielemans, Jeanfrançois Prins (guitar, producer), Jean Warland, Nathalie Loriers, Dré Pallemaerts,
  • 1993 Just friends (Michel Herr & Archie Shepp) (movie soundtrack)
  • 1994 Waitin' for You, Richard Rousselet
  • 2008 And So Am I, Darmon Meader
  • 2012 Boo Hoo, Ulli Jünemann
  • 2013 Duology, Stéphane Mercier
  • 2013 Ornette et Cetera, Uschi Brüning, Michael Griener, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky


  1. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott (2013). The great jazz guitarists : the ultimate guide. San Francisco: Backbeat. pp. 155–156. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  2. ^ "Jeanfrançois Prins | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 March 2017.

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