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Johan Van Eycken
Date of birth February 24, 1958
Place of birth Mortsel
Date of death December 3, 2015
Place of death Ooty, India
Website

Johan Van Eycken was born in Mortsel, Belgium. Living in Ostend his interest in jazz music began at a very early age. His father Edward, aka Wardje, played the drums, saxophone, clarinet and accordeon and his mom, Roza, learned to play the piano when she was very young. The only music he listened to was on the radio, 10 lp's of classical music and one little single, Bluesette by Toots Thielemans.

Johan Van Eycken, only 6 years old, remembers that he was completely overwhelmed by Toots' music and played that piece of vinyl over and over. By that time his father owned a well known snack bar at the Visserskaai in Ostend. Ostend's famous bass player Roger Van Haverbeke was a good friend and invited musicians like Sadi and Toots Thielemans to his place, known for the best hamburgers in town. After meeting Toots, the love for jazz music was born. Johan Van Eycken started a career in the military at Koksyde air bas as a help-cypher back in 1978 till 2008. The passion for taking pictures of live concerts began in the early 80's where he got his first accreditations for the Rhythm an Jazz festivals at the Casino Kursaal in Ostend.

​ It was the place to be for all jazz loving Cats and in one week you could see the greatest jazz musicians and singers. Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, Rhoda Scott, Astor Piazolla, Philip Catherine and many others.

Then came the confrontation with the grand lady of jazz, Ella Fitsgerald. Johan Van Eycken took his first picture of her with a flash. Immediatly she prompted her orchestra to be quiet, pointed her finger at him and said: "Because of people like you I'm almost Blind ! " After the concert, Johan Van Eycken apologised for a million times and she forgave him. He never used a flash anymore...

His photographic career stopped when his ex father-in-law died and he didn't touch a camera for more than 20 years.
In 2006 he took up photography again and shot lots of little concerts and festivals.

In 2008 he showed his portfolio to the director of Theater aan Zee, got his accreditation and shot more than 50 concerts in 10 days.

In 2011 he was invited to the Gnawa music festival in Essaouira, inbedded with the Gnawa people.

In 2012 he shot at the Middelheim Jazz festival in Antwerp.

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