photo : X


Steve Houben

Steve Houben
saxes, flutes

Born in 1950 in a musical family -his mother is a classical pianist, his father an amateur jazzman-, but it is another family member, and a celebrity, saxophonist Jacques PELZER who introduces him to jazz and will have a strong influence on his career. Together they will found the band OPEN SKY UNIT.
In the mid seventies, he attends courses at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
On return to Belgium he creates, with Henri POUSSEUR, the Jazz Seminar at the Liège Conservatory.
During the same period, he brings over to Europe some US musicians and forms the groups Solstice, then Mauve Traffic (with Bill FRISELL, Greg BADOLATO, Kermit DRISCOLL, Michel HERR, Vinnie JOHNSON, with whom he worked in Europe and released the album "Oh Boy" (MD).

He played with some legendary names like Chet BAKER (he recorded with him), Mike STERN, George COLEMAN, Gerry MULLIGAN, Clark TERRY, Jon EARDLEY, Joe NEWMAN, etc.


Composer, arranger and free-lance musician, he recorded several albums as a leader.

In '82 he recorded the album Steve Houben + Strings, with a band composed of 6 jazz musicians and a string section of 21 musicians. A remixed CD version of the album was released in 1995 (IGLOO - IGL121).
Performed in trio with Charles LOOS and MAURANE "HLM" (IGLOO - IGL 043) or Ali RYERSON ("Vagabondages", Igloo - IGL093), etc...
He recorded the album Steve HOUBEN & Michel HERR meet Curtis LUNDY & Kenny WASHINGTON with one of the greatest US rhythm sections of the moment (B. Sharp CDS 094).
He also led COCODRILO, a fusion group with European musicians.
Steve HOUBEN went on tour around the world, leading different groups, playing with numerous bands, such as Peter HERBOLZHEIMER, the EBU Big Band, Garrett LIST, Saxo 1000, ACT Big Band, etc...He also performed for contemporary composer Henri POUSSEUR on some of his pieces
On the occasion of the Adolphe SAX Year in '94, he presents and records a septet featuring 4 saxes "Steve HOUBEN invite..." : '94 année Sax (Arpèges CDG 914).
Steve HOUBEN is a member of the PIROTTON/HOUBEN/POUGIN Trio (Igloo CD "We can't stop loving you") and as a leader, he frequently presents his own bands.
He also formed, with Luc PILARTZ, the band PANTA RHEI, which plays traditional European music and recorded several CDs. Visit their Web Site : PANTA RHEI.
Steve HOUBEN also appeared with Ivan PADUART , a.o with his True Story band.
In February 2001, Toots THIELEMANS invites him on the occasion of his "carte blanche" at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, the famous Brussels opera theater.

He taught in numerous musical workshops. He was the co-founder (with Henri POUSSEUR) of the "Séminaire de Jazz" at the Liège Conservatory. He is currently in charge of the saxophone class at the jazz department of the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles.

In the Belgian jazz referendum organized by Belgian radios RTBF and VRT, Steve HOUBEN was elected by the listeners best Belgian alto sax player and best Belgian and European flute player of the year '98.
The same year, he was elected best European flute player and best Belgian alto player by the Belgian critics (French speaking).

Steve HOUBEN is also frequently active with well known European musicians. He appeared with Czech pianist Emil VIKLICKY, with the Hungarian Trio Midnight, with pianist Bobo STENSON, drummer Aldo ROMANO, etc... He played with the European Jazz Ensemble, with top European jazz musicians such as Daniel HUMAIR, Paolo FRESU, Joachim KUHN, Alan SKIDMORE, etc...
He also appeared in quartet with pianist Gordon BECK.

Steve HOUBEN also showed great interest for world music from various corners of the planet : he is a member of the Belgian / Tunisian ensemble ANFASS, recorded their CD and played numerous concerts with that band in Europe and Tunisia.
He also founded with percussionnist Didier LABARRE the band CUBAN BREEZE and his work with the band PANTA RHEI or with Brazilian songwriter Marito CORREA (CD "O Brilho Do Sol" in '95) are just a few remarkable examples of his open musical mind.

In 2000, Steve HOUBEN receives the DJANGO D'OR (Belgium).


He recorded some 15 albums as a leader, and appears on numerous albums as a sideman.

Playing on :

mognoj005 - Joy and Mystery (2cds) - Olivier Collette
mognoj011 - Les valses - Steve Houben / Boyan Vodenitcharov
mognoj015 - Cores de lá - Victor da Costa trio featuring Steve Houben
mognoj024 - Dolce Divertimento - Alain Pierre - Steve Houben