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Guy Cabay
Information Discography Concerts schedule
Instrument(s) Vibraphone, Piano, Vocals, Marimba, Composer, Songwriter, Arranger
Date of birth 1950
Place of birth Polleur
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© Michel Binstok
 Current bands

Guy Cabay Quartet (Leader)     

Born 1950 in Polleur (Belgium), Guy CABAY is a unique personality on the Belgian scene. He plays jazz vibes and also sings his own songs, with a jazz influence and a definite Brazilian touch...but in a Walloon dialect. Strangely enough, the accents of his poetic lyrics, combined with his soft toned voice, remind of the sound of the great masters of the Brazilian bossa nova, and the inflexions of his Walloon texts show unexpected similarities with the sounds of Brazilian Portugese !
In 1978 already, he writes and records the lyrics and the music of "Tot-a-fèt rote cou d'zeù;r cou-d'zos" (That's Walloon, as you can guess), a surprizing combination of bossa-nova and Liège dialect, which meets instantaneous success.

Guy CABAY has a diploma in musicology from the Liège University, where he studied a.o. with Henri POUSSEUR and S. CLERCX-LEJEUNE.

He shares his time between Venice and Bologna (Italy) -where he works on his doctorate on medieval music- and Liège, where he meets and plays with important jazz figures : Raoul FAISANT, Maurice SIMON, a.o. through his cousin Michel DICKENSCHEID, and rapidly plays with musicians such as : Jacques PELZER, René THOMAS, and later Steve HOUBEN, Jacques PIROTTON, Charles LOOS, Michel HERR, Jean-Louis RASSINFOSSE, etc...

In 1979, Guy CABAY is with Steve HOUBEN and some of the top jazzmen of his generation, part of the founding team of the "Séminaire de Jazz" of the Liège Conservatory, initiated by his director Henri POUSSEUR.

He recorded jazz and chanson albums with prestigious guests, such as Toots THIELEMANS, Larry SCHNEIDER, Bill FRISELL, Philip CATHERINE, etc...

Guy CABAY led several bands (LEMON AIR, etc...), in which he always had some of the finest jazz musicians from Belgium, such as Steve HOUBEN (sax/fl), Bruno CASTELLUCCI (drs), Michel HERR (p), Richard ROUSSELET (tp), Phil ABRAHAM (tb), to name a few.

He played, wrote for and recorded with a.o. ACT BIG BAND, Steve HOUBEN + Strings etc...

He also wrote music for stage, for films and television.

In 1987, he starts teaching Jazz History, analysis and vibraphone at the Brussels Conservatory and at the Luxemburg Conservatory.
He then reduces his activities as a singer and re-focuses on teaching and on instrumental playing.

In 1998, under the pressure of his Walloon fans, he records a new album of Walloon songs, rearranges some from his first album, introduces new ones, combining again Walloon dialect with jazz and Brasilian music. Released in '99, the CD is titled "The Bièsse Tof" and features guest musicians such as Steve HOUBEN, the Héliotrope string quartet, the folk band Panta Rhei.

In 1999, he teaches in France, plays in Washington (USA) and receives the "Prix du Patrimoine" for his activities at the Brussels Conservatory.

He played concerts in Europe, Africa, North America, the USSR.

Duo concerts and CD with pianist Fabian FIORINI, duo concert for the Midi-Minimes Festival '98 with pianist Michel HERR, concerts in quartet with Steve HOUBEN, a.o. opening with great success for B.B. KING in Liège in 2000.

His latest group as a leader is LI GRAND CAYON, with Fabrice ALLEMAN(saxes), Xavier TRIBOLET : keyboards, Benoît VANDERSTRAETEN (electric bass), Mimi VERDERAME (drums).

In '98, Guy CABAY is elected best Belgian vibraphone player of the year '98, both in the listeners poll (RTBF/VRT) and the Belgian critics poll (French speaking). And he reiterates in '99 in the RTBF Jazz Referendum of the Listeners.

In May 2000, Guy CABAY receives the Prize of the Walloon Critics.

Guy CABAY still has extensive activities as a teacher : he teaches vibes, jazz analysis and jazz history at the Brussels Conservatory, and at the Luxemburg conservatory.

(see top of page for main discography)
Besides the recent ones included in the discography available at the top of this page, Guy CABAY has recorded in the past numerous CDs as a leader, some featuring his work as a vocalist and songwriter (always featuring Belgian jazz musicians), some of them purely instrumental, a.o. :
Guy CABAY "In the Gardens of Silence" (1984) (LP, MD 0109)
Guy CABAY "Balzin' reyes" (1986) (LP, AA Music AALP 3600) (reissued as a download on Apple iTunes Music Store in 2005 under the tile "Café liégeois do Brasil")
Guy CABAY "Vibes" (1987) (LP, B. Sharp 1006)
Guy CABAY : "Lemon Air" (1989) (CD B. Sharp CDS 072)
Guy CABAY : "Lemon Air 2" (1989) (CD Miss You 12 2000)
Guy CABAY : "The Ghost of McCoy's Castle"(1995) (CD, B. Sharp 101)

A more complete discography is available on his web site (see top of page)

In the past, was also involved in the following bands:
Guy Cabay & Li Grand Cayon      New Sadi Bigband

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