Roger VANHAVERBEKE starts to play violin at age 7.
After few years at the Ostende musical academy, he moves to the Brussels Royal Conservatory where he obtained 1st prize for violin, as well as the silver medal (for excellence), awarded by the state for solfegio.
Albeit his classical music education, he already show passion for the great jazz violinists of his time, Eddie SOUTH, Joe VENUTI, Stéphane GRAPPELLI.
In 1949, bass player Joe BROWN, who appeared in a local cabaret, heard him playing/improvising on violin and congratulated him for his performance.
He also oriented him toward the bass, reasoning that he will enjoy greater openess for jazz.
And so, in 1950, Roger starts playing the bass with the Mickey BUNNER orchestra, very famous at that time, where he stayed for a full year.
It was an ideal condition for a young beginner who found himself performing during important events.
He received offers to replace Benoît QUERSIN within the octet of Jack SELS, who was touring in Germany and Italy, playing for the US Army.
During 3 years, Roger toured around Europe, meeting other famous musicians, Americans and Europeans, with whom he used to jam at the Frankfurt "Jazz Domizil".
In 1955 he returns to Belgium. Wishing to slow down a little, he accepted an offer from Franz LEBRUN, leader of the orchestra at the casino Kursaal in Ostende. Doing so, Roger turned down offers from Aimé BARELLI, Kurt EDELHAGEN a.o.
Roger remained at the Kursaal during 6 years.
In 1962, he gets hired by Henri SEGERS, in charge of reanimating the BRT (Flemish radio & TV) big band, where he plays, among others, with SADI and Etienne VERSCHUEREN, Nic FISSETTE, Johnny RENARD.
When the band is disbanded, in 1965, Roger decided to go his own way and formed his trio, starting with Jean FANIS piano, and the late Al JONES (ex Dizzy GILLESPIE) on drums. Then Bob PORTER followed by Tony BAUWENS came in as pianist and the late Freddy ROTTIER on drums.
During the years, Roger has established himself as the connection between the Belgian scene and foreign, mostly American, musicians. His trio appears with a guest musician and among the names are : Clark TERRY, Johnny GRIFFIN, Roland KIRK, Art FARMER, George COLEMAN, Slide HAMPTON, Dexter GORDON, Sonny STITT, Milt JACKSON, Frank ROSOLINO, Kai WINDING, Chris & Phil WOODS, Deborah BROWN, Ingmar WASHINGTON, Toots THIELEMANS, Gianni BASSO, Scott HAMILTON,....
He recorded the cd Early Spring with Etienne VERSCHUEREN.
Roger plays all over Belgium and Europe, in festivals, jazz clubs.
His current New Look Trio, with Dutch pianist Johan CLEMENT and drummer Luc VANDEN BOSCH currently plays many concerts, a.o. regular appearances at the Sheraton Airport Hotel (Zaventem) almost each Sunday morning, where he invites numerous guests.
Roger VANHAVERBEKE is a veteran of the Belgian jazz scene, very hard working, extremely dynamic, he blows energy into the jazz scene.
In 1994, his Newlook Trio records the album "Remember Adolphe Sax" (Sauter 9401) with Johan CLEMENT and Freddy ROTTIER (drs) and guest saxophonist Gianni BASSO from Italy.
In 1997, Roger VANHAVERBEKE releases a CD with his New Look Trio and singer Deborah BROWN "Live at he Blue Note".
While Roger VANHAVERBEKE made a long and impressive career in jazz, there's a tendency to often forget that he is also very active in pop music, where he has performed with an impressive number of international stars.
He was a close friend of Fernand Contandin alias FERNANDEL, accompanied Danielle DARIEUX, DALIDA, Yves MONTAND, Dario MORENO, Nicole CROISILLE, Cathérina VALENTE, Nat King COLE, Paul ANKA, the REAL PLATTERS, The GOLDEN GATE Quartet... and many others.
Roger also played, 1st time, with the GOLDEN GATE QUARTET in 1957 became friend with the founder and leader of the group, Orlandus WILSON, and for 3 decades joined them during every performance in the Benelux.
Roger Vanhaverbege left us on March 5, 2011, after a long illness.
Maybe his most remarkable achievement is what he did with his trio (the New Look Trio) and the soloists he proposed, which was bringing jazz music to the most remote Belgian towns and villages.