‘Music was my first love’, a John Miles song, could well be the motto of life for Jo Arend. His father gave him a flute and a clarinet and soon Jo started playing radio tunes by ear! He has an innate talent for music and after studying in De Panne, Veurne and Ghent he soon becomes a popular musician, performing with the many live-orchestras of that period.
After his military service he starts his own business in De Panne: “Taverne 1900”, a kind of cafe chantant. In the meantime he is the house musician at “Melipark” which used to be a well-known, Belgian amusement park, where a varied offer of live music provided the customers with a booming atmosphere.
But inside Jo dwells a jazz-musician and Jacques Pelzer and Marc Alleyn stimulate him to experiment with Jazz. It becomes his passion, but it doesn’t prevent him from playing all kinds of music with the same professional knowledge.
In ‘Taverne 1900” he develops as a vocalist and he learns that being an entertainer means knowing how to pass your enthusiasm to the public.
As a musical Jack of all trades he settles in Ostend which is the start of his big breakthrough. Besides being the life and soul of the Jazz festival, he is also an all-round musician at the Casino. His musical versatility, no branch of music that he cannot handle, and a worldwide repertoire make him famous outside Belgian borders! As a soloist and with his combo he becomes a much wanted musician in famous casinos and hotel chains, as well as on festivals in Holland, France, Germany and Switzerland. Even in the USA the name Jo Arend has become well-known.
Soloist, jazz combo, big band, when we talk quality music we turn to Jo Arend. That also counts for his “tribute concerts”. He started with a “tribute to Fats Domino” and the formula was a big hit. Tributes to Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Gilbert Bécaud soon followed. Pretty soon we will hear Aznavour, Joe Dassin, Marc Aryan and even Elvis. “We are not talking about imitations” illustrates Jo,”everything is brought in our own style, with frivolous touches where possible, but with respect for the original music. Our combo transfigures the famous performers, time and time again for an enthusiastic and grateful public”. The arrangements are signed Slingeyer Ghislain.
Let it be clear: with Jo Arend, when we talk music, you really can go anywhere!