Jef neve was born in Belgium on March 8th, 1977. He studied at the Lemmensinstituut in Louvain, and took master classes with Guy de Mey, Martial Solal, Brad Mehldau, Lew Tabackin, Toots Thielemans, Billy Hart, Bill Carothers, Kenny Werner and Bruce Barth.
In 2000 Jef graduated with Master of Music degrees in Jazz and classical piano, both with great distinction. In 2001 he specialized in Chamber Music and was rewarded 'cum laude'.
Next to his musical education, Jef started to play in local bands at the age of fourteen. During that period he composed a wide variety of pieces for the most divergent ensembles (from piano solo to symphonic orchestra). From age seventeen to twenty he played with the popular funk band Mr. Zebedee, immediately his first contact with jazz and blues.
As freelance pianist Jef performed with various jazz bands, classical ensembles, pop bands (f.ex. 'Get Ready', the famous Belgian boys band), theatre productions and studio sessions, to solo performances with the Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Michel Tilkin). As jazz musician he worked with Dré Pallemaerts, Paolo Fresu, Lindsey Horner, etc….
In 2002 he worked for a year as a pianist and composer for the Contemporary Dance Company ‘Dathe’ in London.
His Trio, with bassplayer Piet Verbist and drummer Teun Verbruggen, has been together since six years. The outstanding musicianship combined with fine-tuned interactivity and visible joy while playing is very communicative and makes an event of each concert.
‘Blue Saga’ (Contour, 2003), the first album of the Jef Neve Trio, was immediately a bestseller. His second album “It’s Gone” (Contour, Nov 2004) #1 best sold jazz album in Belgium. It received the prestigious Radio Klara prize for ‘Best International Jazz Album 2005’ and unanimous acclaim in the international press (for ex.: “From Belgium comes Jef Neve, an explosively gifted young pianist whose second album, It's Gone, is without question one of the best I've heard in 2005.” AllAboutJazz.com/Marc Meyers, Sept. 2005).
Jef Neve signed with UNVIVERSAL Music Belgium, and his third album, “Nobody is Illegal” was released in November 2006. The reactions fantastic, best selling jazz album in Belgium and reviews are superlative ( for ex.: “On his major label debut ‘Nobody Is Illegal’ his highly personal approach to the piano trio announces the arrival of a young musician of enormous promise who has the potential to become a major voice on the European jazz scene” - Stuart Nicholson, Nov. 2006)
UNIVERSAL Music companies world wide react equally enthusiastic and the CD has been released in 20 countries. In FRANCE the album received the "CHOC" in the magazine 'Jazzman'. In DENMARK it received 5-stars in ‘Politiken’ by Boris Rabinowitsch: "Klaverfænomen." In the UK the 'Guardian Monthly' ranked it among "5 best new albums", the cd received 4-stars in 'Times2' and in the 'Evening Standard'. 'The Observer' wrote : "His concerts are almost like a religious experience, riveting audiences by the sheer power and imagination of his playing." In GERMANY the magazine 'MusikAnSich.de' gave the highest quote “20” : "Nobody Is Illegal belongs to the best that you can find in the European Jazz. For jazz, classical or simply music lovers : this album is a must from beginning to end." In ITALY the critic Roberto de Vitris wrote in 'Altrisuoni': "Jef Neve è l'uomo nuovo del piano jazz internazionale". In IRELAND the 'Irish Times' wrote : "Jef Neve is leading a new wave of European Jazz."
The Jef Neve Trio performed a large number of concerts and festivals like North Sea jazz, Jazz Fest Wien/Austria, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, Veneto Jazz/Italy, European Jazz Festival/Athens, Jazz au Chellah/Rabat, Blue Note Festival Gent, Gaume Jazz, London Jazz Festival, ‘Piano au Jacobins’ Toulouse, Festival van Vlaanderen, Middelheim Jazz/Antwerp, Lille Festival, Veneto Jazz in Italy, Münster JazzInbetween, Berlin Jazz Meeting, Vitoria-Gasteiz festival, tours in Japan, Mexico, Spain, etc., and main jazzclubs like the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Sunside in Paris or Quasimodo in Berlin.
After the Trio’s concert at Bremen JazzAhead in april 2008, Jazz.com wrote : « But it was Jef Neve from Belgium who took Jazzahead! by storm. It earned the loudest ovation of the whole event as everyone sensed the arrival of a major talent. »
Jef Neve was nominated for several prizes : the ZAMU Awards 2004 and 2005 in the category ‘best artist’; the ‘Cultuurprijzen Vlaanderen 2005’ in the category ‘music’ (next to Tom Barman/DeUs and Capilla Flamenca), and the‘Octaves de la Musique 2005’. In feb 2007 he received the ZAMU Award “Jazz”.
He has written the soundtrack for the movie ‘Dagen Zonder Lief’ by Belgian film director Felix Van Groeningen which came out in the cinemas in march 2007. Critics mention the sound track as being one of the strong points of the movie, and Jef Neve was invited to perform extracts from the score at the “World Soundtrack Awards” in an arrangement for piano and orchestra. He is currently writing the soundtrack for the new movie ‘De Helaasheid der Dingen’ bij Felix Van Groeningen to be released in 2009.
Parallel to his fast growing activity as jazz artist, Jef Neve prepared the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach during the year 2005, which he performed several times in 2006 and 2007.
In 2008 he will perform several concerts with Belgian tenor Koen Vereertbrugghen in a program of the ‘Dichterliebe’ by Schumann and works by Menotti, Barber, Britten and Neve.
He recently finished writing his first piano concerto, which will be premiered on 1st and 2nd of May 2009, together with the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Michel Tabachnik.
Jef Neve has been asked by the National Belgian Radio VRT-Klara to do a weekly jazz program, and since January 4th 2008 his program “Neve”, recorded live, is broadcast every Friday night from 7 to 9 pm.
The Jef Neve Trio’s new album “Soul In a Picture” was released in May 2008 on Universal Music Belgium followed by releases in 24 countries abroad. The trio’s concerts were sold out at all the main belgian venues ranging from 600 to 1000 people with standing ovations, in Brussels, Anwerp, Gent, Leuven, Turnhout, Hasselt, followed by a series of concerts in the smaller towns as well as abroad, and the CD and concerts gets great reviews in the press all over the world.
JazzMan magazine : « ****SPECTACULAR. His previous album had enchanted the critics and was crowned with a ‘Choc’ Jazzman. “Soul in a Picture” hits the nail right on the head and confirms all our expectations. »
Times Online : « If Neve had been born somewhere jazzily iconic such as Chicago or New Orleans he would already have been fêted as the hottest new pianist on the block. »