© Yves Budin
|Born 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 first, 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, Richie BEIRACH 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
under the name "HLM" (IGLOO - IGL 043), or also with LOOS and 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.
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 house.
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, Gordon BECK, Enrico PIERANUNZI, etc...
With Michel HERR as an arranger, he created with soprano Julie MOSSAY and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie the project "An American Songbook" and formed "the Real Sax Section" (5 saxes + trio).
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
He recorded some 15 albums as a leader, and appears on numerous albums as
Steve HOUBEN, an open, cultivated and curious mind, has approached many musical contexts and styles (jazz, fusion, classical music, world music, ...) with considerable talent and conviction).
(See top of page for main discography)
Stéphane HOUBEN (with Chet BAKER) (LP, MD 012)
MAUVE TRAFFIC "Oh Boy" (LP, MD 035)
Chet BAKER/Steve HOUBEN (52E RUE EST RECD 019) (1980), also
reissued in 2001 as Chet BAKER : "Almost Blue" (West Wind 2126)
Steve HOUBEN/Charles LOOS/Ali RYERSON "Vagabondages"
(Igloo igl 093)
Steve HOUBEN "City of Glass" (B. Sharp) (1989), with Diederik WISSELS and Jan DE HAAS
Steve HOUBEN "Juvia" and "Trio", with
Diederik WISSELS and Jan DE HAAS
Steve HOUBEN/Michel BENITA "Embraceable You"
(Ricercar Ric 121106) (1992)
Steve HOUBEN "Songs by Cole Porter and George Gershwin"
(Ricercar), with Alexander OLIVER and Dale DUESING (1993)
+ 3 CDS with PANTA RHEI, albums with Jean-Christophe RENAULT, SAXO 1000, ACT Big Band, Bernadette MOTTART, Guy CABAY etc...
Other recent projects : Purcell's fantasies adapted for jazz saxophone quartet and percussion, etc...
Since 2010 member of the Académie Royale of Belgium.