Belgian-Canadian saxophonist and composer, Peter Van Huffel, is a prolific artists who has appeared in all sorts of ensembles and musical settings around the world, and currently makes his home in Berlin, Germany. His primary project, the thrash-jazz trio GORILLA MASK with bassist Roland Fidezius and drummer Rudi Fischerlehner, has been active since 2009 and has performed at a number of the most recognised venues and festivals across Europe and toured twice through the Canadian summer jazz festivals in 2013 and 2018. GORILLA MASK released their debut CD, “HOWL!”, in 2012 on the German label “Between the Lines”, followed by two more releases with the acclaimed Portuguese label Clean Feed Records: “Bite My Blues” (2014) and “Iron Lung” (2017). In 2019 they will be releasing their fourth album, (and third with Clean Feed), entitled “Brain Drain” on CD and 180g LP. Each of GORILLA MASK’s releases has received rave reviews, as well as honourable mentions and features in radio and print media around the world.
In 2016 Peter spent three weeks on residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada conceiving and composing new music for an octet project featuring an international cast of musicians based in and around Berlin. The compositions and musical direction of his octet stem from two previous ensembles which he co-led with Belgian vocalist Sophie Tassignon: the Berlin based House of Mirrors – a chamber style group featuring pianist Julie Sassoon and bassist Meinrad Kneer (originally Miles Perkin), which can be heard on their 2014 release “Act One”; and HuffLiGNoN with bassist Michael Bates and trombonist Samuel Blaser, which released it’s debut album on Clean Feed Records in 2008 to outstanding reviews including a Disque d’Émoi from France’s Jazz Magazine – one of the magazine’s top monthly mentions. The Peter Van Huffel Octet was premiered in April 2017 in Berlin.
Other notable projects of Peter’s include an international quartet formed in 2009 for the recording of Peter’s critically acclaimed release on Fresh Sound Records, “Like the Rusted Key”. Featuring New York pianist Jesse Stacken, Canadian bassist Miles Perkin, and Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer, the quartet followed the album’s release with four extensive tours through Europe and a tour of the Canadian Jazz Festivals, all in 2010. Previously, Peter led the New York based PVH Quintet with Jesse Stacken, Scott DuBois, Michael Bates and Jeff Davis during his 2002-08 NYC residency. The group held regular performances at such New York staples as the 55 Bar, The Tea Lounge and the Cornelia Street Café, and toured frequently in Canada. They can be heard on Peter’s 2007 Fresh Sound Records release, “Silvester Battlefield” and on their 2005 independent release “On Common Ground”.
Peter remains consistently active with a slew of other projects such as the Berlin duo KRONIX with guitarist Alex Maksymiw, (their debut CD was released in 2016 on Fresh Sound Records); the New-York based trio BOOM CRANE, featuring Michael Bates (bass) and Jeff Davis (drums) which released its debut CD in 2014 (also on Fresh Sound); the Berlin based collaborative trio The Scrambling EX with legendary German guitarist Andreas Willers and drummer Devin Gray; the Meinrad Kneer Quintet; and the collaborative quartet Fake Noise featuring saxophonist Jonathan Lindhorst, bassist Dan Peter Sunderland and drummer Michael Griener.
Aside from Peter’s extensive discography as a bandleader, he can be heard on the 2006 release by the New York trio ANIMAL FORUM; two discs by NYC based guitarist Lily Maase; a re-scored DVD/CD release of the Buster Keaton film “Steamboat Bill Jr.” by guitarist Dan Nettles as well as Nettles’ recent vinyl releases “Inside Voices” and “Outside Choices” (2015) with his regular ensemble Kenosha Kid; the Meinrad Kneer Quintet’s Oneirology (2015, JazzHausMusik) and his debut CD from 2003, “Mind Over Matter” featuring his early Toronto-based ensemble. Peter also performs frequently with numerous musicians from Europe, North America and beyond in variety of improvised and original-music settings.